ALBANY, NY – The Hartford Wolf Pack fell behind 3-0 in the first period Saturday night at the Times Union Center and never quite recovered, losing 5-2 to the Albany Devils.
Wolf Pack goals by Danny Kristo and J.T. Miller got the Wolf Pack as close as 3-2, but Albany got third-period scores from Brandon Burlon and Raman Hrabarenka to seal the win, the Devils’ franchise-record sixth straight. The Wolf Pack fell to 0-6-0-1 in their last seven games and 9-14-0-3 (21 points) on the season.
Brandon Burlon and Artem Demkov had a goal and an assist each for Albany, which improved to 17-7-1-1 for 36 points, and Harri Pesonen had two assists. Scott Wedgewood made 26 saves.
The Devils got off to a fast start, blitzing the Wolf Pack and starting goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris with three first-period goals in a span of 3:02, starting at 4:41.
Mattias Tedenby, in his second game of a conditioning stint down from parent-club New Jersey, deflected a shot from the left point by Seth Helgeson, and the tipped puck went underneath Grumet-Morris at 4:41.
Demkov made it a 2-0 Devil lead at 6:53, scoring his third goal in five AHL games since joining Albany from Elmira of the ECHL. Joe Whitney found Demkov all alone in front of the net with a pass from the left-wing side, and Demkov beat Grumet-Morris with a forehand shot.
It then took Albany only 50 seconds to increase the lead, as David Wohlberg made it 3-0 at 7:43. Pesonen broke into the Wolf Pack zone on a two-on-one with Wohlberg, and fed a beautiful behind-the-back pass from left to right to Wohlberg, who had an open net into which to deposit the puck.
That goal chased Grumet-Morris from the game, after three goals-against on nine shots, and Jeff Malcolm held the Devils off for the rest of the first, and all of the second.
That allowed the Wolf Pack to find their game, and they outshot Albany 13-7 in the second frame, and cut the lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal by Kristo at 15:05.
Kristo took a pass from Danny Syvret near the top of the right-wing circle, and Kristo’s snap shot went through a screen set by Marek Hrivik and past Wedgewood. That increased Kristo’s team-leading goal total to 11 on the year.
Miller then scored his seventh in eight AHL games 6:41 into the third period, to bring the Wolf Pack within one. Miller broke up a Helgeson pass in the Devil zone, broke down the left-wing side, lowering his shoulder to get by Reece Scarlett and beating Wedgewood with a move to the backhand.
Burlon answered that goal only 1:22 later, though, upping the Albany lead to 4-2 at 8:03. Malcolm (21 saves) stopped a long try by Pesonen, but Burlon grabbed the rebound at the left side of the slot and ripped it off of a Wolf Pack defender and into the net.
The Wolf Pack got into penalty problems later in the period, further dampening their comeback hopes. Stu Bickel was hit with a double minor for high-sticking Stefan Matteau at 12:50, and then Oscar Lindberg took a slashing penalty at 13:55, and Tommy Hughes a delay-of-game minor 14 seconds after that.
That put the Wolf Pack two men short for nearly three minutes, and Albany capitalized at 14:46, with Hrabarenka letting go a shot from the right point that went off the inside of the post to Malcolm’s right, then hit him in the back and dropped into the net.