Talking Red

Game 33: Shootout Goes For Sens, Minor Devils’ Injuries

Posted in on by Dan Pennucci

The Devils’ first game without Ilya Kovalchuk on Monday hopefully will not be a harbinger of the several weeks the team is slated to be without their dynamic winger. New Jersey again played from behind twice in the nation’s capital only to fall 3-2 in a shootout to Ottawa, a depleted team rapidly staking a firm claim to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The game was a tightly played checking contest between teams missing their top offensive players with the Devils knotting up the game three times if one counts Travis Zajac’s successful shootout attempt to force the skills competition to a sudden death frame. Mika Zibanejad expertly executed a backhand deke against Martin Brodeur on the next attempt to put Ottawa in front before Andrei Loktionov was denied by Ben Bishop for the Senators’ win.

The Devils also lost captain Bryce Salvador (lower body) and grinding winger Stephen Gionta (upper body) to injuries, both remaining sidelined after the first period. There is no word yet on the nature of the injuries to two of the team’s more important depth players, as noted by the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.

Playing shorthanded certainly didn’t help the Devils on the evening, along with the goals they allowed to Ottawa. Senators’ defenseman Chris Phillips opened the scoring early in the first period, throwing a wrist shot at Brodeur from the left circle that fluttered through several players, including Brodeur for a 1-0 lead. It’s surprising Ottawa didn’t score before then, as the Senators were buzzing around the Devils’ zone for most of the game’s opening minutes.

The Devils spent much of the next two periods trying to battle back into the game before Loktionov snuck a backhanded shot off the post past Bishop following a flurry in front of the Senators’ net at the 15:13 mark of the second frame. The lead was short lived as the Devils coughed it up with just 17 seconds remaining in the period, as Colin Greening put Ottawa back on top following a New Jersey defensive breakdown.

Marek Zidlicky again tied up the game for the Devils at the 6:05 mark of the third while both squads traded legitimate scoring opportunities with overtime and the shootout looming. Bishop made several strong saves down the stretch to secure at least the bonus point for Ottawa before guiding them to a win in the shootout.

New Jersey monstrously outshot the Senators in the contest, 34-14, but again had little to show for it in terms of goals. There was just one penalty in the game to each team and neither converted on their power play chances.

The Devils have several days off before back-to-back contests in the Sunshine State against Florida and Tampa Bay.

-The Devils started off the game with Elias-Zajac-Clarkson and Loktionov-Henrique-D’Agostini as their top-six forwards.

-Martin Brodeur has allowed four goals on 48 shots in his three games since returning from a neck injury. The goals he’s allowed have been soft attempts.

-David Clarkson, who fought Zach Smith in the game, led the Devils in shots with six while Zidlicky checked in at second place on that list with four attempts on goal.

-D’Agostini played 17:44 in the contest after seeing just 9:30 in his debut with the Devils in Saturday’s win over Florida. Andy Greene led all players in ice time with 32:37, also grabbing his first point in eight games.

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