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Crunch Report: February 2, 2010

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2009-10 RECORD: 19-23-3-3, 44 points, (11-8-1-1 home, 8-15-2-2 road), sixth place, East Division


Wednesday, February 3 @ Albany (26-17-3-2, 57 points), second place, East Division
Friday, February 5 @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (22-23-1-1, 46 points), fifth place, East Division
Saturday, February 6 vs. Adirondack (22-22-2-1, 47 points), fourth place, East Division


Friday, January 29 vs. San Antonio - CRUNCH 5, San Antonio 4 (SO)
Saturday, January 30 vs. Binghamton - CRUNCH 5, Binghamton 1


WISH UPON A SHOOTOUT STAR: Goaltender Kevin Lalande has become a star for the Crunch in shootouts lately, stopping nine of the last 10 attempts against him. He recorded his second shootout win in a row on Friday night vs. San Antonio, denying all five Rampage bids in the 5-4 victory. In addition, he picked up the win and was named the game's second star on Saturday night vs. Binghamton after turning aside 31 of 32 shots.

Lalande now leads all AHL netminders in shootout wins (5) and is 22-for-30 (73.33%) in the tiebreaker, ranking second in the league in shootout percentage among goaltenders that have faced 25 or more attempts. It is no coincidence that the Crunch's record has seen a direct correlation with the play of Lalande. In the month of January, Syracuse put together an 8-4-0-1 mark while Lalande appeared in nine games and went 6-2-1 with a 2.28 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

A native of Kingston, Ontario, Lalande has skated in 29 games with the Crunch this season, going 13-11-2 with a 2.98 goals against average and .908 save percentage. He was acquired by Columbus from Calgary in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, March 4, 2009.

Crunch center and captain Derek MacKenzie has been the most consistent scorer on the club lately, posting at least a point in a personal and team season-high eight straight games from January 15–30. His eight game point streak ties him for the fourth-longest active point streak in the AHL. His streak started with an assist in a 6-3 win over Springfield on January 15. He then went on to tally a goal in five straight games from January 16–24, also a personal and club season-high.

Over his last eight games, the Sudbury, Ontario native has registered 12 points (6g, 6a) and averaged over a point per game in the month of January with six goals and eight assists in 13 contests. His 14 points were also good enough to lead the team in scoring and catapult the club to its best month of the season, with an 8-4-0-1 record.


The Crunch make their third trip to the Times-Union Center Wednesday night for the sixth of eight overall contests with Upstate rival Albany this season. The Crunch are 2-3-0-0 vs. the River Rats this year and took the last meeting by a 6-3 count back on January 2 at the War Memorial at Oncenter on the strength of three points (2g, 1a) from Mike Blunden. Trevor Frischmon leads the Crunch in scoring against Albany this year with five points (1g, 4a), while rookie Tomas Kana has put up four points (2g, 2a) in just two games against the Rats. Albany leading scorer Jerome Samson leads his club and all players in the season series with seven points (5g, 2a), while goaltender Mike Murphy has started four of five games against the Crunch this year, going 3-1-0 with a 2.76 goals against average and .915 save percentage.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS): The Crunch make the trek to northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday night to do battle with another divisional opponent in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Syracuse has posted a 1-4-0-1 record against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year, with their only win in the series coming at Wachovia Arena back on November 28. Alexandre Picard has five points (1g, 4a) while Derek MacKenzie has recorded four points (3g, 1a) against the Penguins this season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Dustin Jeffrey (5g, 6a), Chris Connor (3g, 6a) and Mark Letestu (nine assists) have combined for 29 points against the Crunch this year, while John Curry is 3-0-0 with a 2.27 goals against average and .919 save percentage in the season series.

ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS (PHILADELPHIA FLYERS): The Crunch return home to face their third divisional opponent in four nights when the Adirondack Phantoms come to town on Saturday night. The Crunch have been victorious in two of the first three meetings with the Phantoms this year, including the last time these two clubs met back on December 11. Dan Fritsche (2g, 1a) and Alexandre Picard (1g, 2a) have both tallied three points each against Adirondack, while Kevin Lalande has appeared in two games, going 1-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and .949 save percentage. Adirondack’s Jared Ross leads all players in scoring with four assists in the season series.

Saturday's game vs. Binghamton was the final meeting between the Crunch and Senators until the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, the AHL’s first-ever outdoor game on February 20 at the New York State Fairgrounds…The Crunch power play has scored a goal in six straight games, going 6-for-27 (22.2%) over that span… The Crunch and Binghamton are now tied 3-3 in the season series… Syracuse owns a 14-3-1-1 record against the B-Sens at home over the past five seasons… The Crunch are now 14-2-1-0 when scoring four or more goals… Defenseman Brendan Bell is tied for seventh in the AHL in scoring among defensemen (8g, 22a), ranks first in power play goals by a defenseman (7) and is second among all league blueliners in power play points (19)… The Crunch rank third in the AHL in shootout wins (5) and are the only club without an overtime win this season… Rookie center Tomas Kana is currently riding a three-game point streak and has five points (2g, 3a) over that span.

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