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Senators Rusty in 4-3 Overtime Loss to Devils

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We’ve come to expect more from the team than today’s effort.

New Jersey Devils v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Senators returned from their Christmas Break to host the New Jersey Devils today, a fellow candidate to draft Alexis Lafrenière with the 1st overall pick in 2020. Ultimately, it was the Senators that saw their lottery odds increase, as they were beaten 4-3 in overtime by a determined Devils squad.

The Sens began the period well, with Anthony Duclair and Chris Tierney combining for a good chance on Mackenzie Blackwood. They looked like the slightly better team overall until a Vladislav Namestnikov tripping penalty seven minutes in. On the ensuing power-play, the Devils took advantage of multiple failed clearing attempts by the Senators penalty killers, and a Sami Vatanen point shot was tipped past Craig Anderson into the net by Nico Hischier to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead.

The Devils continued to attack, keeping the Senators hemmed in their own zone until the Sens got a power-play of their own. It failed miserably as they only managed 1 shot on goal, an allowed two against. After both teams traded power-plays once again, the period ended with New Jersey up in shots 14-6, and up in 5v5 attempts 19-9. Barf.

The second period wasn’t amazing, but they did manage to keep pace in shots, and scored a couple of goals in the process, no thanks to yet another underwhelming power-play. First, Nick Paul would score his first goal in nineteen games; he received the puck from Duclair and beat Blackwood to tie the game at one.

Artem Anisimov then gave the Sens the lead by knocking a rebound from an Andreas Englund point shot out of mid-air into the Devils net.

Shortly after, Colin White took a Delay of game penalty, followed by Namestnikov’s second offensive zone tripping penalty of the game. Despite a good effort from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Borowiecki and Cody Goloubef on the ensuing 5-on-3. Nikita Gusev would even things up at two.

The Devils weren’t done yet, unfortunately. Wayne Simmonds caught the Sens’ defence off guard with a lob pass which sprung Miles Wood on a breakaway, who slid the puck under Anderson to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. The frame concluded with the Devils leading in shots 23-16, and 5v5 attempts 35-23.

You’d think it was the Devils that were down by a goal because they came out flying in the 3rd period, throwing nine consecutive shots on Anderson. Ottawa would finally get their legs moving around five minutes into the frame, outshooting New Jersey 7-1 from that point on, as they pushed for the tying goal. And thanks to the massive minute-muncher Thomas Chabot, they got it with five minutes to go:

The two teams would go to overtime, and with under a minute gone in the extra frame, the Devils took the extra point on yet another breakaway courtesy of 2019 1st overall pick Jack Hughes. The shots at the end of the game were 34-23 NJD.

Thoughts:

  • With today’s overtime loss, the Sens have earned at least a point in five consecutive games. That would be fairly impressive even if this roster was 100% healthy, but it’s even more so with a seriously depleted blue-line.
  • That being said, I wasn't happy with the team’s 60-minute effort today. Despite the injuries, we’ve come to expect higher energy and better team play than what we saw today. We’ve seen even the NHL’s best teams struggle against D.J. Smith’s squad in previous games, here’s hoping they can give us more performances like those!
  • I’m not too high on Namestnikov right now. I’d much rather see Tyler Ennis brought back on a one-year deal.
  • Christian Jaros looked solid in the 7:52 he played today. There’s a clear opportunity for him to earn more minutes and stay in the lineup even after guys begin returning from IR.

Stats:

Ottawa kept pace with New Jersey for a good chunk of the game, but subjected to a shooting gallery multiple times.

On a positive note, many of the shots that Ottawa threw at Blackwood were high danger chances from near the goal; they even finished with a 5v5 xGF% of 52.58%.

Up Next:

The back-to back concludes on the road tomorrow, Dec. 30 at 7:00 PM EST, against the Pittsburgh Penguins.