GLENS FALLS -- After a rough outing across the board on Friday night against Syracuse, the Adirondack Phantoms are back in action Saturday when they host the rival Albany Devils.
The Phantoms have struggled in getting out to early leads so far this season, and several players talked after Friday's loss about the frustration that's seeping into their game. A big part of the reason why? It doesn't appear as though they've mastered Terry Murray's system quite yet -- the coach called their game "freelancing," and from our 60 minutes watching the team so far this season, we'd say that's a pretty apt description.
Luckily for the Phantoms, tonight's opponent lacks the speed and tenacity that the Syracuse Crunch brought a night ago. Albany sits at 2-4-0-1 through seven games, good for last in the Northeast Division though just one point behind the 3-5-0-0 Phantoms. It's a battle for last place in the division!
Albany's biggest struggle this season has been scoring. They've put just 15 pucks in the net in their seven games, good for last in the Eastern Conference and second-to-last in the AHL. Oh, and five of those goals were in one game against Adirondack.
The Phantoms have struggled scoring goals as well though, but to make matters worse, they've given up a whopping 30 goals to their 19 goals scored. 30 goals against is the worst in the Eastern Conference, and again, it comes down to not executing Murray's system.
Aside from power play opportunities, the Phantoms are having trouble generating scoring chances and sustained pressure. A lot of it comes back to the transition game and sloppy play in the neutral zone. Aside from the defensive zone coverage issues, the transition game is a major area of concern for the team. You need to get to the offensive zone to create chances, after all.
Lots to work on, and Murray's made a handful of changes to his lineup in an attempt to get things rolling. Tyler Brown will get back into the lineup after several games as a healthy scratch. Garrett Roe and Jeff Dimmen will also check in. Andrew Johnston, Mike Testwuide and Brandon Manning (who played particularly rough on Friday) will join a long list of healthy scratches.
Cal Heeter started three of the last four games including Friday's loss, but he'll get the night off as veteran Scott Munroe gets the nod. Albany is 0-5-2-0 in their last seven games at the Glens Falls Civic Center, so that's pretty fun.
You can watch tonight's game for a fee through the AHL's website, or listen live with Tim Saunders and Anthony SanFilippo at PhiladelphiaFlyers.com. We'll have more from the GFCC all evening long, so please stick with us. It's hockey, you guys!