New Jersey Devils (34-29-16) at Ottawa Senators (34-31-14), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to shake off the
disappointment of missing the playoffs when they visit the Ottawa Senators for
Thursday's battle at Canadian Tire Centre.
New Jersey was hoping it would have a chance to battle for a playoff spot on
Thursday, but the club was eliminated from postseason contention while idle on
Wednesday after Columbus and Detroit clinched the Eastern Conference's last
two wild card spots.
The Devils will miss the playoffs for the second straight spring and the third
time in four seasons.
Although the Devils were knocked out of contention while idle on Wednesday,
the club didn't do itself any favors in its last trip to the ice, dropping a
1-0 regulation decision in Monday's home test against the Calgary Flames.
Karri Ramo stopped all 31 shots sent his way by the Devils to post his second
shutout of the season. Mark Giordano scored the only goal of the game when he
converted on a power play just 23 seconds into the third period.
Cory Schneider gave up one goal on 22 shots for the Devils, who had won three
of four coming into the game.
The lack of offense was nothing new for New Jersey, which is tied for 24th in
the league with an average of just 2.42 goals per game. The scoring woes have
been a problem all season and came back to haunt the Devils in Tuesday's
frustrating loss against Calgary.
"We had chances and opportunities and didn't stick it in the back of the net,"
New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's been a common theme on offense;
we're at the mercy of games like this where margin of error is very small.
New Jersey got pressure late with the goalie pulled, but Ramo made a nice stop
on a Michael Ryder shot from the low right side, and Jaromir Jagr's wraparound
from the left side went just wide of the net in the final seconds.
"It just wasn't our night," said Jagr. "We just couldn't score today and for
whatever reason it was a perfect game by him (Ramo)."
The Devils, who are 14-18-8 as the guest, are playing their final road test of
the season tonight. New Jersey will host the New York Islanders and Boston
Bruins to end its 2013-14 schedule.
Schneider will get the start on Thursday, while Martin Brodeur expects to play
tomorrow against the Islanders. The 41-year-old Brodeur, who has led New
Jersey to three Stanley Cup titles during two decades with the club, is a free
agent after this season but has hinted at an interest at coming back for
Ottawa was officially eliminated from playoff consideration on Tuesday despite
winning a road game that evening against the New York Islanders. It was the
Sens' second victory in a row, but they were eliminated because Columbus beat
Phoenix on Tuesday.
Jason Spezza scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period to
lift the Senators to the 4-1 win on Long Island. Spezza also added an assist,
while Ales Hemsky had a goal and two helpers.
Craig Anderson had 45 saves for the Senators, who are out of the playoffs for
the first time since 2011.
"You have to show you're playing for pride and you're playing for each other,"
said Spezza, who is Ottawa's captain. "Guys' jobs are on the line. When you
have a year as disappointing as this year was, changes are inevitable and you
don't want to see people get moved around or moved out because of lack of
effort in the last few games."
Ottawa is playing the first of two straight on home ice before capping its
season Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Sens, who are 16-17-6 as the host, will
welcome Toronto on Saturday in the season finale at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Senators had won four straight over New Jersey before the Devils notched a
5-2 home win in the last meeting between the clubs on Dec. 18. Ottawa has won
two in a row and six of the past seven encounters in Canada's capital city.
04/10 11:01:28 ET
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