4/28 Update: Congratulations to the Albany Devils! They beat the Utica Comets 3-1 in their series tonight with a 6-3 win in Utica. The series went 3-2 in Game 1, 5-1 in Game 2, and 1-2 in OT in Game 3. Your current leader in scoring for Albany after the first round is Reid Boucher with three goals, three assists, and twelve shots on goal in four games.
Their reward: the second round for the first time in the A-Devs history. There's a problem: their opponent will be the mighty Toronto Marlies. They came from behind and in Game 3 to sweep Bridgeport. Their series will begin next week and it is a best-of-seven set. The winner of that gets to play for the Eastern Conference. No one ever said a playoff run would be easy.
The original post follows for posterity's sake (with the Utica schedule removed because, well, it's really pointless now):
Tonight begins the one playoff run that involves the New Jersey Devils organization. While the Calder Cup Playoffs of the American Hockey League has begun two nights ago, the Albany Devils will play their first playoff game tonight. With that, this is an open post for the action that will take place with the A-Devs.
Who's on the Albany Devils? A lot of familiar names from the 2015-16 New Jersey Devils. Between the injuries and the roster turnover, plenty of minor leaguers have seen time with the big club. This includes older players such as Mike Sislo, Jim O'Brien, Paul Thompson, Seth Helgeson, and Marc-Andre Gragnani. The real draw will be the younger players. Joseph Blandisi and Reid Boucher both played more than a "cup of coffee" with New Jersey; both forwards will be featured on this team. Forward Blake Pietila, defenseman Vojtech Mozik,, goaltender Scott Wedgewood, and defenseman Raman Hrabarenka will also factor into the roster. The team also received a number of prospects added to the team either by ATO or an entry level contract: defenseman Josh Jacobs (ATO, ELC signed for next season), defenseman Colton White (ATO), forward Blake Speers (ATO), defenseman Ryan Rehill (ATO), forward Nick Lappin (ATO, ELC signed for next season), and top forward prospect, Pavel Zacha. All of this plus an AHL rookie in Matt Lorito, who just edged Sislo in scoring for Albany in this past season, and a NHL defenseman who was eligible to be sent down without going through waivers: Damon Severson. There's plenty of names to follow through Albany's playoff run that would interest the New Jersey fan.
It really could be a run, too. The Albany Devils finished second only to the Toronto Marlies (a powerhouse of a squad) in the AHL's North Division. Their record of 46-20-8-2 was worth 102 points. That was more than any other team in the other Eastern Conference division, the Atlantic. It is easily their most successful regular season record since the Devils returned to the Capital District. If we include the Albany River Rats, the 102 points would be the fourth most in team history. Needless to say, 2015-16 was very good for Albany. They achieved the record largely on their stinginess. Their 167 goals allowed in the regular season was the second fewest in the entire AHL. Unlike their parent club, their goals for total was also not near the bottom of the league in conjunction with that. They could put up some goals themselves. Between their regular season success and the blend of young and experienced players, there is reason to believe the team can contend.
They'll have to get past the Utica Comets first. They're affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks. The good news is that Albany has beaten them six out of eight times in the regular season. So there's reason to believe Albany is favored in the first round. That said, Albany cannot start off poorly if only because of how the playoffs are structured. The first round in the AHL is only five games long. A bad game or two can really make the difference, so let's hope Albany gets going tonight and tomorrow on the right foot.
How can you watch the AHL playoffs? Well, if you're not in the area and going to games, then there is AHL Live. It's a video streaming service similar to what the NHL has. Unfortunately, it's pretty pricey. There's an all access subscription for the playoffs that costs $249.99; a team pass for the playoffs that is $44.99 and only for the first two rounds (why not all four?); and a pay-per-view option for individual games where each game appears to be $9.99. That's quite a bit of money to spend for the minor league hockey playoffs. Too much in my opinion, but it's an option that is available. (And so we won't be sharing or discussing how to illegally stream games, as usual per rules.) The league also has links to online audio feeds, but I do not know if they'll work for the postseason.
One last thing: Go follow Tracey at Thoughts Inside the Box. She's been running an Albany Devils blog since 2011 and it's one of the few (the only?) A-Devs blogs out there by a fan. It's worth reading if you like sites like this one and you want to know more about Albany.
Anyway, all site rules apply for this open post. Please don't feed the trolls. Enjoy the AHL postseason. Go A-Devs!