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Anemic performance by Devils leads to 3-0 loss to Senators

After a 40 shot outburst against the NHL-worst Avalanche, the Devils were completely outplayed by a very good Senators team. Here’s the recap.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New Jersey Devils
The Devils were outplayed, outmuscled, and outscored by the Senators tonight.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils, looking to build off a great performance against Colorado, faced a Senators team that had just lost to the Sabres 3-2.

With this game, it seems safe to say the Devils failed to achieve their goal. Badly.

In the first period, both teams started off lacking in energy. There was a Devils power play to immediately start off the game, but the Devils made nothing of it. Beau Bennett made his presence known in his first game back, using his speed and puck possession skills to drive the zone and nearly stuff in a rebound. The Devils defensemen played well as well. Riley Dzingel used his speed to cause problems, but the Devils defense neutralized him throughout the first. Kyle Turris had the best chance of the first for the Senators, off a rebounded Mike Hoffman shot. The Devils then had a Kyle Palmieri 2-on-1 opportunity, but it was stuffed by Condon. Ben Lovejoy should’ve scored on a slapshot in the slot, but it was unluckily blocked by Kyle Palmieri before it could enter the net. Overall, the first period was the best period for the Devils.

In the second, the Devils and Senators were even to start off the second. Jacob Josefson took a penalty two minutes in, but the Devils killed it off rather easily. The Devils actually outplayed the Senators possession wise during the first part of the 2nd, but then Mike Cammalleri got a penalty, and the Senators capitalized with a Dion Phaneuf slap shot. After this goal, the Senators got new life, and played like the team a goal down. Within the last two minutes, the Sabres dominated the puck, and on the period ended up outshooting the Devils 16-7.

The third period was as if the Devils didn’t even care. It appeared as if their play got more lackadaisical, and the Senators capitalized on this. For a team trailing, the Senators dominated possession and play. The period was again dreadful, with the Senators outshooting the Devils 12-6. With four minutes left, Erik Karlsson took a wrister from the point, which trickled by Schneider and in. Then, with the empty net, Kyle Turris iced the game, and the final score was 3-0.

When a team is down, they should be playing with a sense of urgency. From what I saw, it seemed as if the Devils had no urgency at all. They seemed to give up, and let the Senators dictate play for all of the third. That is unacceptable for a team down, and supposedly still in the playoff hunt.

The Game Stats: The Game Summary | The Event Summary | The Play-by-Play Summary | The Shot Summary | The Natural Stat Trick Game Stats | The HockeyStats.Ca Game Stats |

The Opposition Opinion: Ross A wrote a short recap here.

Bad Corsi All-Around: No player on the Devils had a positive Corsi difference this game. The only players who were actually even rated were Jacob Josefson (who I actually thought played well) and PA Parenteau. The worst players according to Corsi were Stefan Noesen and Jon Merrill. From what I saw, Noesen was actually moved down to the fourth line in this game, which was a shame considering no spark was added with this move. Mike Cammalleri, with his recent string of bad play, actually had one of the better Corsi’s on the night with a -1. Take this with a grain of salt though, as his 13:40 minutes of ice time is four minutes lower than his average ice time. It’s become evident that Hynes is losing trust in him as of late, as his ice time continues to dwindle. With no goals in his last 19 games, Cammalleri needs to perform better. Some of his recent play has been questionable, but he’s definitely a talented player who should be scoring more for this Devils team.

The Positives: The discipline was better in this game, although the Devils didn’t really play with much heart or emotion. Blandisi’s presence took away the grinder/pest role that the Devils had in the past few games, and he could’ve provided a spark in this game. Regardless, after giving up 6 power plays in the Sharks game, the discipline has been a lot better as of late.

Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri didn’t show up on the score sheet, but they were some of the only Devils that consistently tried to make plays and drive forward the offense. Hall made some key passes to set up opportunities, and Palmieri had himself a couple scoring chances. Most other Devils forwards were either lethargic, or played with little-to-no emotion (Cammalleri had no shot attempts).

Tonight, Ben Lovejoy and Andy Greene were the best defenseman the Devils had. Lovejoy and Greene held their ground against Ottawa’s best offensive threats tonight, and showed why Hynes trusts them as a top pairing defense. Lovejoy has been criticized a good amount this year for his underwhelming play, but he was mostly solid tonight. Him and Greene had two blocks each, and did a good job in neutralizing the young speedster Riley Dzingel, who played exceptionally tonight. While tonight was a pretty ugly game, there were some positives that could be taken from it.

Trade Deadline? Earlier this week, PA Parenteau mentioned how this stretch of games would determine if the Devils would be sellers. Well, yesterday FanSided posted an article stating how the Devils are likely to trade him and Kyle Quincey. From an outside perspective, it looks like the Devils would be giving up on the season. However, in my eyes, it could just be Shero getting value for unnecessary assets. In the past games, PA Parenteau has been consistently on the 4th line, and getting little ice time. His stats are nice, but they aren’t completely indicative of how he plays. He’s been invisible at times, and is a streaky scorer (just like most players on the Devils). Kyle Quincey, on the other hand, looks pretty good based on stats alone. He has four goals, and actually has a positive +/- on the year. However, with Santini and Merrill playing well, Hynes and Shero may see Quincey as disposable now.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing both of them traded, because I just don’t think they help the team all that much. But, let me know what you guys think in the comments below.

Speedy Senators: The Senators have an abundance of young, dangerous forwards on their team. Riley Dzingel, as mentioned before, used his speed to his advantage throughout the game. Kyle Turris is an amazing, borderline star player, and he caused trouble for the Devils today. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone may be the most underrated forwards in the NHL, because while people know they’re good players, they may not appreciate just how good they are. All of these players, as well as others like Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Derick Brassard, Zack Smith and even Tom Pyatt, played essential roles in the Senators win tonight. The future looks bright for these Sens.

Schneider Left To Dry: Of the two goals Schneider gave up, only Eriksson’s was really really bad. Schneider was the reason, particularly in the second and third, that the Devils were even so close in this game. He saved 32/34, and was the best Devil on the ice today. Unfortunately, the Devils applied little pressure on Mike Condon aside from bits in the 1st period and the first 5 minutes or so in the second. Schneider’s play has really picked up of late, and the Devils can’t continue to waste performances from him like today.

So...: What are your thoughts on this game? Who do you think played well? Do you think the play was indicative of the Devils as a team, or just a singular bad performance? What do you think about what the Devils should do in the trade deadline? Let’s hope to forget about this game, and try to have a good night.

Next game is against the Islanders on Saturday, so let’s look forward to hopefully a better performance in that game.