Plenty of familiar faces were on the ice at the Times Union Center in Albany on Wednesday night as the New Jersey Devils battled the New York Rangers in a National Hockey League preseason tilt.
The Devils won the game 2-1 in overtime thanks to the help of some former AHL standouts. Off the ice, 9,420 fans made their way to the home of the Albany Devils, setting a venue record for high attendance at an NHL preseason game.
As the first period progressed, the black curtains that hang over the upper-bowl end zone started to lift, making way for more fans.
It had been nine years since the last major-league preseason game was held in the Capital Region and the fans showed up. The previous record was 9,379 for a Boston Bruins and New York Islanders game in 1992.
Patrik Elias, who played in the AHL for Albany between 1995-98, netted the game-winning goal 45 seconds into overtime. The goal was set up by another former Albany All-Star Zach Parise, who played in the Capital District during the 2004-05 season.
Another Albany throwback, Petr Sykora (1995-98), began the scoring with a wrist shot at 11:34 of the first. The assists went to rookie Adam Larsson and Eric Boulton.
The Rangers’ Dale Weise, with the help of Artem Anisimov, sent the game into overtime with a tally at 4:21 of the third.
Of the seven players who earned a point in the game only one – Larsson – has never played a game in the AHL.
The next hockey game at the Times Union Center will be opening night for the Albany Devils when the Springfield Falcons arrive on Saturday, Oct. 8 for a 7 p.m. contest.