Lowell Closes Gap For Spot in Postseason
After dropping decisions in their first two games this week, the Devils kept their playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 shutout win at Worcester on Saturday and a 5-3 victory over Bridgeport on Sunday. Lowell prepares for a second consecutive week of four games and looks to inch closer to the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. The Devils currently trail the fourth-place Worcester Sharks by three points with a game in hand.
Tuesday, DEVILS 0 vs. Monarchs 3
Monarchs goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped all 18 shots he faced to shut out the Devils, 3-0, at the Tsongas Arena. Justin Azevedo scored first for Manchester as he found the back of the net at 7:32 of the first period. Matt Moulson added another tally for Manchester at 7:40 of the third, while Gabe Gauthier sealed the win with 4:51 remaining in the contest. Jeff Frazee stopped 24-of-27 shots for Lowell.
Friday, Devils 2 vs. PIRATES 3
The Devils fell a goal short in their third-period rally, losing to the Portland Pirates, 3-2, at the Cumberland County Civic Center. After a scoreless first, Portland exploded for three goals in the second, starting with Tim Kennedy's marker at 2:04. Marek Zagrapan's power play goal at 15:15 extended Portland's lead to 2-0. Two minutes later, it was Marc-Andre Gragnani pushing the Pirates edge to three. Lowell closed the gap at 6:42 of the third on Stephen Gionta's tally and later pulled within one on Nicklas Bergfors' power play goal with 30 seconds left in regulation. Jeff Frazee made 32 saves in the loss.
Saturday, Devils 1 vs. SHARKS 0
Lowell's Jeff Frazee was a perfect 33-for-33 at the DCU Center, blanking the Worcester Sharks, 1-0. Just 2:30 into the game, Alexander Vasyunov put the Devils up with his 13th goal of the season. That would be the only goal Lowell needed as Frazee's fourth shutout of the year and the penalty kill unit (8-for-8) held Worcester's offense at bay.
Sunday, DEVILS 5 vs. Sound Tigers 3
The Devils scored three goals in the first period and never looked back in a 5-3 win over the Sound Tigers at the Tsongas Arena. Pascal Rheaume scored twice in the first frame, including a power play goal, and Nicklas Bergfors also added one on the man-advantage to put the Devils up, 3-0. After Andrew MacDonald got the Sound Tigers on the board, Lowell opened up a four-goal lead on goals by Jon DiSalvatore and Alexander Vasyunov. Defensemen Chris Lee and Mark Wotton scored for Bridgeport in the third period to cut Lowell's lead in half, but Scott Clemmensen shut the door for the rest of the game to finish with 30 saves.
In the Standings
At 33-32-2-6 with 74 points, the Devils now trail the fourth-place Worcester Sharks (37-34-1-2) by three with a game in hand. Sitting a point behind the Sharks and two ahead of the Devils are the Manchester Monarchs (34-31-0-8), also owning a game in hand on Worcester. The Portland Pirates (35-29-3-6) were able to maintain their spot in third, but have only a two-point lead on Worcester. The Providence Bruins have a firm hold on second-place with 88 points (40-26-2-6) and look to close the two-point gap on the division-leading Hartford Wolf Pack (42-26-3-3). The Wolf Pack clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 shootout win over the Bruins on Saturday. At 23-40-7-4, the Springfield Falcons look to play spoiler over the last two weeks of the regular season.
Around the Horns
The Devils improved to 28-3-2-3 when scoring three goals or more and 11-0-0-1 when scoring five goals or more...Lowell remains one of three teams that has not lost in regulation when leading after two periods (22-0-0-2; Grand Rapids & Milwaukee)...The Devils shutout Worcester in their final two meetings, 3-0 on March 21 and 1-0 on March 28...In his first start since March 1, Scott Clemmensen made 30 saves for a 5-3 win over Bridgeport, his 6th win of the season...Pascal Rheaume picked up his first two-goal game of the season in Lowell's win over the Sound Tigers...Jeff Frazee made 33 saves on Saturday to extend his team record for shutouts in a season to four...Vladimir Zharkov is tied for third among AHL rookies with a +21 plus/minus rating.
Several games loom large on the horizon this week with the playoff picture for Lowell still very much up in the air. Lowell will visit Manchester on Wednesday, looking to pull even with the Monarchs for fifth place in the division. Manchester's lone win in its last eight games (1-5-0-2) came last Tuesday in a 3-0 shutout of the Devils. The Monarchs have won four of the last five meetings against the Devils.
Lowell gets a day off before hosting the Portland Pirates on Friday. The Pirates were perfect over their three-game, three-day weekend and have won four in a row over the Devils. Tim Kennedy leads all first-year players in points (59) and assists (43), while teammate Nathan Gerbe ranks first among AHL rookies with 26 goals.
The Devils complete their season series against the Springfield Falcons on Saturday at the Tsongas Arena. Lowell has been victorious in the last two meetings versus Springfield to take a 5-4-0-0 lead in the season series. Matt Halischuk has eight points (3g-5a) in five games versus the Falcons. Springfield's match against Lowell will be the second game of their season-ending five-game road trip.
Lowell makes its final visit to Hartford on Sunday as they look to snap a two-game skid against the Wolf Pack. Hartford has won 15 of its last 19 games to rocket into first place in the Atlantic. Goalie Matt Zaba owns the fourth best GAA in the league at 2.19 and is the leader in shootout save percentage at .929. Artem Anisimov has seven points (5g-2a) in his last four games.
Promotions/ In the Community
Saturday, April 4 - Devils vs. Springfield Falcons - Fan Appreciation Night!!!
The first 2,000 fans will receive a Scott Clemmensen Bobblehead, courtesy of Fallon Community Health Plan.
The first 5,000 fans will receive a set of Lowell Devils Bang Sticks, courtesy of Mountain Dew.
One lucky fan will win a full-size, customized Lowell Devils Pepsi Machine.
Numerous other giveaways and prizes.
Saturday, April 4
Devil Dawg will be greeting patrons from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. as they visit the RTN branch in Waltham, MA.
Get tickets to two games for the price of one. Purchase a ticket to either one of these games against the Devils' Atlantic Division rivals and receive a free ticket to the other game.
Wednesday, April 8 @ 7:00pm vs. Providence Bruins
Friday, April 10 @ 7:00pm vs. Hartford Wolf Pack
For more information, go to http://lowelldevilshockey.com/tickets/twoforone09.php
or call (978) 458-PUCK.
Leaders for Lowell
Goals: Nicklas Bergfors (21)
Assists: Jon DiSalvatore (32)
Points: Jon DiSalvatore (51)
PIM: Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (205)
Plus/Minus: Vladimir Zharkov (+21)
Wins: Jeff Frazee (26)
G.A.A: Jeff Frazee (2.57)
Save %: Jeff Frazee (.923)
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