GAME 1 PREVIEW: IceCaps at Devils Posted by IceCaps on
Friday, April 25th (8:30 PM ET)
GAME 1 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (Best-of-Five series tied 0-0)
The St. John’s IceCaps will play their first playoff game since since their trip to the conference finals in 2012 on Friday night as they head to Times Union Center to face the fifth-place Albany Devils in the opening game of their best-of-five Eastern Conference Calder Cup playoff series.
Both teams head into the playoffs with some momentum behind them. The IceCaps earned victories in their final three contests of the season and outscored their opponents 17-6 in the process. Albany’s confidence will be high after rattling off five consecutive victories to ascend the Eastern Conference leaderboard late in the season.
KEEP IN MIND…
The IceCaps are making their second playoff appearance in three seasons and boast several players with extensive Calder Cup playoff experience. Andrew Gordon won back-to-back Calder Cups with Hershey in 2008-09 and 2009-10, while captain Jason Jaffray reached the postseason in eight consecutive seasons prior to last year (he missed all of the 2012 playoffs due to injury). Jaffray has 49 points in 62 career playoff games.
The IceCaps’ Jerome Samson ended the season on a high note, amassing goals in four consecutive games, en route to earning AHL ‘Player of the Week’ honours for the final week of the regular season. Over his last five games, he has scored four goals and added six assists.
For the Devils, Reid Boucher has three goals and four points in his last three games, while Harri Pesonen has six points (2G, 4A) in his last four contests. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid has won three straight while not allowing more than two goals in each of those starts.
While the IceCaps and Devils have not faced each other this season, the IceCaps won three of four games against Albany during the 2012-13 AHL regular season.
The IceCaps’ parent club Winnipeg Jets returned six players to St. John’s over the final week of the regular season, making for some tough lineup decisions as the team heads into Game 1. While the lineup hasn’t yet been announced, rookie defenceman and 2013 first-round draft pick Josh Morrissey is expected to dress for his first pro playoff game at some point during the series, and that could very well be Friday night.
The Devils also benefitted from their parent club New Jersey Devils not making the NHL playoffs as six players (forwards Mike Sislo and Tim Sestito, and defencemen Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill and Eric Gelinas) returned to Albany earlier in April.
Game 1 is always an important game to win, especially in a short best-of-five series. The IceCaps boast a 2-1 record in Game 1’s dating back to their playoff run in 2011-12.