POST GAME: Falcons 5, Admirals 0
Brad Larsen might want to get a patent for the magic he's working in Springfield.
Here are the staggering numbers to kick it off: the Falcons have outscored opponents by a 17-2 margin over their last three games, Curtis McElhinney's goals-against average is hovering around 1.44 (and is going to drop further after tonight's performance), and they have now scored the first goal in 10 consecutive contests.
Springfield recorded its second consecutive shutout this afternoon at MassMutual Center, defeating the Norfolk Admirals by a 5-0 final and solidifying its spot atop the American Hockey League's Eastern Conference.
Though we're only 11 games into the AHL regular season, it's hard not to get excited about the Falcons' hot start, and more than anything, they aren't just beating teams -- it's almost shocking when they allow a goal.
Prepare for another ridiculous statistic: the Falcons have given up just 17 goals in their first 11 games. "Stingy" just doesn't do them justice at this point.
Now that we've digested the numbers, how did this one play out?
As I just mentioned, the Falcons struck early once again.
Patrick Maroon took a slashing penalty just 27 seconds into the game, and Springfield needed just 14 seconds to make the Admirals pay for it. Cam Atkinson's shot from the left circle was stopped by Igor Bobkov, but Nick Drazenovic was free at the side of the net and he deposited the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
The primary assist by Atkinson was the beginning of a four-point night (goal, three assists) for the Springfield sniper, who's been picking up steam in recent games.
Atkinson and Drazenovic connected for another tally at 9:25 of the first period. Another strong shot from Atkinson produced another rebound from Bobkov, and once more, Drazenovic was in the right spot to cash in.
Matt Calvert made it 3-0 (shockingly, on a rebound) for Springfield at 18:26, the Falcons' second power play goal of the opening period. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault followed up a point shot from John Moore to boost the Falcons lead to 4-0 just 48 seconds later, and during the first intermission, Bobkov was replaced by Frederik Andersen between the pipes for Norfolk.
A random assortment of notes after an exciting game at The Nest...
-- Very quietly, Ryan Johansen had an effective game. He's getting more confident with his new line mates with each passing game and is making a handful of gifted plays every night. The added bulk is paying off, too; opponents are having a tough time knocking him off the puck, and sometimes, it's almost like they're bouncing off him.
-- Two straight shutouts for McElhinney, and his shutout streak is well over 120 minutes (and counting). The last goal he allowed came in the opening minutes of the third period in Hartford -- a week ago.
-- The Drazenovic line combined for four goals, nine points and 14 shots on goal this afternoon. It's been one of the Falcons' best units of late, and this while the top line has struggled to get on the scoresheet.
-- Next up for Springfield is their third road game of the year on Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre. The Falcons will play their next four on the road after opening the season with nine of 11 on home ice.