Disappointed Devils visit Senators
(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 2014-15.
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 11:09:27 ET