Igor Bobkov Takes the Ice at Scope - John Wright/Courtesy of Norfolk Admirals
Despite roster moves that took over 1/3 of Norfolk's goals, the Admirals are proving they can win by committee.
1 - One goal by Brayden Irwin, a recently signed PTO, was all it took to beat divisional rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins) 1-0 on Friday night at Wilkes-Barre. The goal was his first in the AHL.
2 - Admirals rookie netminder Igor Bobkov picked up his second shut-out of the season in the 1-0 win over the Penguins Friday night. Bobkov started three straight games and won two consecutive.
3 - A three player swap earlier this week saw Emerson Etem returned to the Admirals from the parent Anaheim Ducks and forwards Peter Holland and Patrick Maroon recalled. With Maroon and Holland recalled and Kyle Palmieri having been with the Ducks since the start of the season, Norfolk is without its top three goal scorers. The three players accounted for 36% of the Admirals goals this season.
4 - The Admirals could only manage to muster 12 shots on goal against the WBS Penguins Friday night. It was the fourth time this season the Admirals were held to 20 shots or less and set a franchise record low for shots on goal in a game.
5 - Norfolk defeated the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) last Sunday in a shootout. The Admirals have been victorious in five of the six shootouts they've played this season.
6 - With recent roster transactions, the Admirals only have six players with ten points or more. Of those, only Etem has more than ten goals with twelve. Josh Brittain and John Mitchell have six goals, and Devante Smith-Pelly has five.
7 - Norfolk has been able to spread the offense around a bit in their recent wins. Last Sunday against Hershey, seven different Admirals tallied points (3G, 5A).
8 - The Admirals penalty kill, which has been called upon consistently all season, killed off all eight penalties against the Penguins Friday. Norfolk continues to average over 20 minutes in penalties per game.
9 - Norfolk truly does enjoy a home ice advantage, at least mentally. In the nine homes games in which they've lead after one period, the Admirals are 7-2.
10 - The Admirals are 6-4-0-0 in their last ten games, picking up six crucial points in their division against the rival
Penguins (ranked one spot over Norfolk) and the Hershey Bears.
Climbing out of the standings "hole."
As mentioned earlier, the Admirals have picked up six crucial points against division rivals this month, and four against Wilkes Barre-Scranton in particular, the team that is currently one spot above the Admirals in the East Division. The games against the Pens are actually considered "four point" games, in that the Admirals can get the two points for the win and "take" or "keep" two points from the Pens. The Admirals, with their two wins, were awarded four points and took three. It's these small but significant statistics that need to be at the forefront of the team's mind, the scratching and clawing for any points they can pick up and take from their division.
The Ads are currently eight points behind Hershey and Wilkes Barre-Scranton in the East Division and seven points behind the Connecticut Whale (New York Rangers), who would be the last team in the postseason if the playoffs started today. The Admirals need to jump five teams, a feat certainly familiar to the players who were with the organization last season.
Does travel really affect a team?
It's no surprise that the Admirals have one of the worst travel situations in the Eastern Conference. Their two closest rivals are five hours away. Their road trips often consist of three games in three nights in three different cities, with the entire trip being traveled by bus. It would be easy to use travel as an excuse for poor play on the road, that is until you talk to Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, or "PL3" as he's come to be known. He put it very simply last Friday night,"You look up at the (28 Consecutive Wins) banner up there. Those guys found a way to do it. It's not an excuse."
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