At least it wasn’t a shutout? The New Jersey Devils (25-25-10) lose another one to the Ottawa Senators and lose the season series, all regulation losses. Truth be told, I wasn’t watching the game; I have an international economics exam tomorrow afternoon and studying for that sounded like a much better idea than watching a slow, uneventful hockey game. This recap is essentially going to be spitting out numbers and statistics and repeating what others watching the game told me.
The game was scoreless heading into the second period until Kyle Turris scored 59 seconds into it. The Devils did have several excellent scoring chances but Craig Anderson denied every single one of them. Erik Karlsson extended the Senators lead to 2-0 at 4:11 in the third on the power play (which wasn’t a strong call but whatever, I don’t know the rules and apparently, the referees don’t either). Tonight wasn’t a shutout because Travis Zajac, our lord and savior, scored on the only Devils power play opportunity of the night off of a pass from Joseph Blandisi (his first official point of the season!). He now has 12 goals on the season and at least a point in his last three games (two goals, two assists). He is also tied for 9th all-time in franchise history with 153 goals (!).The Devils were a completely new team for the remainder of the third and could have easily scored again but did not.
Losing tonight was a pretty glaring negative because it was a game that the Devils could have, and should have, won with all of Ottawa’s recent injuries. It was also a pretty complete game; if they had played the way they did in the last 15 minutes or so for the entire game, the outcome could have very well been much different. Refereeing has been pretty awful all-around the league all season long. Also, another negative, Pavel Zacha took a bad hit by Derick Brassard and exited the game with an upper body injury. Whether or not he underwent concussion protocol has yet to be determined.
But we should look at the positives!! New Jersey did outshoot Ottawa 30-23, and Miles Wood and Damon Severson led the team in shots on goal with four apiece. The Devils won 61% of faceoffs and had 25 hits. Ottawa did have 22 blocked shots (New Jersey had six) which meant that the Devils were shooting the puck more but it could just not find the back of the net. They had an excellent third period, spent most of it out of their own zone, and continued to put pressure on Anderson and Ottawa’s defense. Cory Schneider had another good night, making 21 saves and posting a .913 save percentage.
The trade deadline is also only a week away. I do think the Devils will be sellers at the deadline (or at least not complete buyers) because realistically, they’ll miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season. Colorado, Detroit, Montreal, Buffalo, Edmonton (!), Toronto, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Vegas (!) all had representatives at the game tonight. The Devils did have two scouts at tonight’s Edmonton/Tampa Bay game, which would indicate (another) New Jersey/Edmonton trade. I have ideas but they’re keeping me up at night so I won’t share them and I hope I’m proved wrong.
That’s all I have for tonight; I have to go finish studying the Ricardian model and the Rybczynski theorem and all other things international econ-related. The Devils will get a much-needed three day break (and so will we!) before they face the New York Rangers for only the third time this season. It’ll be a fun game to go to if you can get your hands on tickets; puck will drop at 5PM.