11 straight wins. The New Jersey Devils were as hot as can be coming into today’s afternoon matchup against the Ottawa Senators, and it was a rematch of last week’s 4-3 overtime loss in New Jersey. Artem Zub was back in the lineup after missing nine games, and it was a big test for the Senators who were trying to get some momentum after winning two of their last three games.
It looked like Ottawa was going to get off to a good start as they hit a post and had some other Grade A chances on Akira Schmid, plus they got the first powerplay 3:49 into the game. However, Erik Brännström took a hooking penalty at the end of that powerplay and gave the momentum back to the Devils. At first, I thought it was just my TV that froze, but apparently, a ton of people had the same thing happen, and when the stream came back, New Jersey was already celebrating Erik Haula’s first goal of the season.
Fabian Zetterlund (phenomenal name by the way) sent a pass to Haula who was able to get into the middle of the penalty kill box, and his quick shot got past Anton Forsberg thanks to a Miles Wood screen in front. It was the mark of a great team that they were able to score on such a quick play like that.
Schmid and Forsberg would both trade excellent saves throughout the first period, and the score could have easily been higher—unfortunately, the Devils would add to their lead with 4:06 to go. And hilariously, TSN missed that goal as well as they were showing other graphics. This time it was Nathan Bastian who scored off a faceoff rebound and some poor defending from Jacob Bernard-Docker and Mathieu Joseph. They were caught flat-footed, and Forsberg couldn’t react fast enough to stop the second shot. Despite some good stretches, Ottawa was down 2-0 after the first period.
The second period didn’t get any better.
Just a few seconds in, it looked like the Devils extended their lead to 3-0, but thankfully there was a distinct kicking motion, keeping the score at 2-0:
Hamonic caught day dreaming and New Jersey scores. Goal doesn’t count, but it easily could have. pic.twitter.com/yTUyhx9otu— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) November 19, 2022
However, Ottawa couldn’t take advantage of their fortunate outcome and continued to let New Jersey dictate the play. 3 minutes into the period, Jesper Boqvist would actually make it 3-0, as he barely got to a rebound that Jake Sanderson could not defend. Although Forsberg had made some nice saves and wasn’t to blame for all of the goals, he was then pulled in favour of Cam Talbot not even halfway through the game.
Talbot made an impact in the second period and nothing was bigger than this save-of-the-year candidate on Bastian:
That save seemed to give the Senators some life, as Derick Brassard would finally put them on the board with 2:31 left in the period. It wasn’t the prettiest shot, but at that point, it didn’t matter. They were back in the game before the second intermission:
Furthermore, Drake Batherson had a wonderful chance with under 2 minutes to play but he was hooked on a partial breakaway, sending Ottawa to the powerplay. All of a sudden, they had a chance to be within one goal before the final period. Instead, disaster struck. Tim Stützle couldn’t handle a Batherson pass, and the Devils came down on what appeared to be a harmless 2-on-2. However, Nico Hischier’s shot rebounded out to a wide-open Yegor Sharangovich, who was not being guarded by Stützle, and he easily scored to make it 4-1. It was a careless lack of awareness from Stützle, and instead of it being 3-2 with 20 minutes left, it was 4-1.
What wasn't surprising at all was that the Senators came out with no bite for the final period. There was no strong push, nothing to even give them some life. The Devils are an incredibly good team, yes, but Ottawa looked dejected by the final period. They were unable to make it close, and Michael McLeod ended up scoring the fifth goal via the empty net, making the final score 5-1.
Ottawa is 6-10-1 on the year, and New Jersey set a franchise record with twelve straight victories.
- Talbot had to come into the game in the second period and stopped 15 of 16 shots, with the one goal against being impossible to stop. He should be the one to roll with the next game.
- I mentioned it earlier, but the fourth goal was almost entirely Stützle’s fault. He’s been very good this season, but his defensive play and awareness to defend need a lot of improvement.
- It’s not just Stützle either, as the forwards in general need to be so much better defensively. Yes, they’ve been fine with producing offense, but they haven’t been doing their jobs in the defensive zone.
- The Sanderson-Hamonic pairing really struggled tonight. They had a 42.86 CF% tonight, with most of their shots coming late in the game when it didn’t matter. The Devils have been the best possession team in the league though so that isn’t surprising at all.
- The entire offense seemed asleep this afternoon, with just some small stretches being full of life.
- Artem Zub played 21:01 in his return to the lineup and posted a 62.5 CF%. It wasn’t enough to help them win obviously, but it’s a massive boost moving forward.