This is something we haven't talked about a lot of recently but the Devils lost in regulation last night. This loss came against the 15th place Ottawa Senators, a position that we were once in. In fact, on February 1st, the Devils were the 15 seed in this matchup and walked away with a win, by the same score.
The Devils didn't do a bad job tonight but it seemed to be a frustrating game for them. For one, they outshot the Senators 32-21 and you have to give credit to Craig Anderson because he certainly came to the rink tonight with winning in mind. The Devils powerplay, well that did suck, especially in the 2nd period when Ottawa was having their own little parade to the box, giving the Devils a few 2 man advantages. Sure, one of them was only for a handful of seconds but the second one they had over a minute of 5 on 3 time and took a lot time just getting the puck into the zone. Once set up, the Devils never really got a good look at the net. You could argue Rolston got a good look but if you are arguing that, why did he hit Anderson square in the chest?
The first Ottawa goal, in my opinion was completely on Tallinder. Ryan Shannon shouldn't have been allowed to beat him to the puck but did and by doing so, created the chance for Erik Condra. Give Condra credit for sticking with it as he had to wack home the rebound to stick it in the net. In this league, you can do a thousand things correctly but we remember the one thing you did wrong and from last nights game, all I can see in regards to Tallinder is Shannon turning on the jets and getting past him.
Rolston had a nice setup feed to Elias who beat Anderson to tie the game at 1. The Senators would strike late on a horrible goal. Spezza had the puck up high and circled around a few times, obvioulsy waiting for teammates to get into the play and found Condra breaking to the net. I don't see how this puck wasn't stopped but give Spezza credit for being very patient on the play.
So the Devils lose but the good news is 8th Buffalo also lost, meaning the Devils remain 8 points out. The bad news, is that Buffalo lost and the Devils couldn't capitalize on the loss and remain 8 points out.
My 3 Stars
1) Erik Condra - Scored both goals.
2) Craig Anderson - Kept Ottawa in this game and certainly made some brilliant saves.
3) Patrick Elias - For giving NJ a chance.
All in all a frustrating end to a frustrating game but the Devils must put it behind them as they head to Atlanta for a HUGE game on Friday. 2 points means the world for both of these teams. As for last night, I guess Spezza gets the last laugh...