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Admirals Stat-urday: 4 Wins Forward, 2 Losses Back

The Admirals saw their five game point streak come to an end last Saturday and dropped two games this week. It's said that good teams never lose two in a row. Let's hope for the fans' sake that doesn't apply to the last few weeks of Norfolk's push to the playoffs.

Devante Smith-Pelly at Norfolk Scope 2012-2013
Devante Smith-Pelly at Norfolk Scope 2012-2013
John Wright/Courtesy of Norfolk Admirals

1 - Patrick Maroon (17G,22A) and Sami Vatanen (7G,32A) are tied for the team lead in points with 39.

2 - Goaltender Frederik Andersen, with his Superman cape hidden underneath his shoulder pads, won his second shut-out of the season on Wednesday stopping all 32 shots from the Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers).

3 - Three players had two point nights on Wednesday vs the Phantoms--Kyle Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly each tallied a goal and an assist and Pat Maroon with two assists. Maroon has points in all but one game this month and has had four multi-point games in his last seven played.

4 - Kyle Wilson picked up his fourth point in just his fifth game wearing a Admirals jersey on Wednedsay night, scoring a goal and assisting on another. Wilson, acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, had played 22 games with the Lightning's affiliate Syracuse Crunch and only managed five points. It's still early, but it would seem a change in scenery and first line minutes are just what he needed.

5 - Seldom mentioned forward John Kurtz (3G,5A) notched his fifth assist of the season Wednesday night.

6 - Captain and defenseman Nate Guenin saw his six game point streak (1G,6A) come to an end Tuesday night. It was the longest point streak of his career.

7 - Devante Smith-Pelly has accumulated seven points in ten games in March. He has already beaten his previous high monthly point total of six, set back in September.

8 - Forward Pat Maroon leads the Admirals with eight power play goals.

9 - After winning four straight and getting points in five straight games, the Admirals dropped two in a row. In the process, they were out-scored by their opponents by a combined total of 9-2, an average 4.5 goals against per game. During the five game point streak, the Admirals outscored the opposing teams 18-10, an average of 2 goals against per game.

10 - Sami Vatanen now ranks tenth in assists in the AHL among active skaters with 32 in 52 games. Vatanen is also ranked fourth among active rookies and second among defensemen in scoring.

If the Admirals fail to make the playoffs by four or less points, they won't have to look very far back in the schedule to see find the out how. Last Saturday Norfolk took their five game point streak in to Binghamton to face a decimated Senators' (Ottawa Senators) line-up. The Admirals came out swinging, scoring the game's first goal, but it was all downhill from there, and critical points against an Eastern Conference rival were lost in the 5-1 decision.

No problem, right? Norfolk would surely bounce back with rare weeknight back-to-back games against the cellar dwelling Adirondack Phantoms, who were in last place in the AHL. In front of the home crowd in Scope, the Admirals got out-hustled and out-played by the Phantoms, who are so far out of a playoff spot the best they can do is play the roll of spoiler.

The game was so bad, in fact, that Norfolk could only muster six shots on goal in the first period against a team that averages 31 shots against and gave up four goals to a team that averages only a little over two per game . Another two points pissed away, an EASY two points. It didn't help that there appeared to be no leadership on the ice or the bench, be it by example or chastisement. Norfolk didn't play to its identity, and certainly didn't look like a team hungry to make the playoffs.

Wednesday night the Phantoms and Admirals stepped on the ice again. While not one of the leaders on the team admitted to saying anything about the night before, the Norfolk players came on to the ice and blasted Adirondack goalie Scott Munroe with 21 shots in the first period alone and 48 through three periods, putting three behind him for the 3-0 win.

Pat Maroon played like the previous night was a personal affront, seeming to "will" the puck to his linemates, assisting on two goals. Devante Smith-Pelly seemed to find a scoring touch (1G,1A) that's eluded him all season and probably put him on a short list as a potential throw in for a trade.

The win stopped the bleeding, at least until the next game, and for the Admirals there wasn't that much short-term damage done. But one game a streak does not make, one "good" game does not mean all the demons are gone from the game. Norfolk is still on the positive side of the slope, having moved up the standings and sitting only five points out of a playoff spot. In fact, the Admirals, with 65 points, are currently in a sort of "three way tie" with the Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils) and the Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings), who both also have 65 points, for 9th place in the Eastern Division.

The Admirals however will have to find a way to leap-from those two teams as well as the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) for that last spot, and with only 13 games remaining, there is absolutely no room for mistakes. The leaders on the team have to be leaders, the best players have to be the best players, and they can't afford to take any more nights off, especially not two in a row.

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