Throughout the offseason, Running With The Devils will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Analysis/Reaction” tab. In today’s second preview, we stay in the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Ottawa Senators.
Senators vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 67 all-time meetings against the Senators, the Devils are 42-19-5-1. The Devils average 2.71 goals against the Senators, while only allowing Ottawa 2.31 goals against New Jersey. In four meetings last season, the Devils went 3-1-0 against the Senators.
In their first meeting of the season, the Devils defeated the Senators, 3-2, in Ottawa. Milan Michalek put the Senators on the board first, scoring an even-strength goal at 14:00 minutes of the first period. Brian Lee extended the lead to 2-0 at 11:09 of the second period. Zach Parise cut the deficit in half, tallying a powerplay goal at 15:35 of the period. David Clarkson tied the game in the third period, 2-2, scoring another powerplay goal 4:38 of the period. Andy Greene scored the game-winner, scoring the Devils third straight powerplay goal at 7:20 to put New Jersey ahead, 3-2.
The Devils won the second meeting, 3-1, on November 25 at the Prudential Center. Niclas Bergfors scored the game’s first goal, giving the Devils an early lead, 1-0, at 7:58 of the first period. Michalek would tie the game, 1-1, with his even-strength goal at 12:34 of the opening period. Patrik Elias scored the eventual game-winner, netting his then-first goal of the season at 18:34 of the second period. Jamie Langenbrunner extended the Devils lead, putting New Jersey ahead, 3-1, with an empty-netter at 19:36 of the third period.
The Devils took the third meeting of the series, 4-2, at The Rock. Langenbrunner opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, with a powerplay goal at 11:53 of the first period. Alexandre Picard brought Ottawa back, tying the game, 1-1, with an even-strength goal 39 seconds into the second period. Brian Rolston put the Devils ahead, 2-1, at 1:53 of the period. But the Senators would not quit, with Jarkko Ruutu tying the game, 2-2, at 6:06 of the period. The Devils would once again answer, with Jay Pandolfo giving the Devils a lead, 3-2, at 18:22 of the second. Bryce Salvador stretched the lead, 4-2, with an even-strength tally at 9:52 of the third period.
The Devils could not complete the season sweep, as Ottawa blanked the Devils, 3-0, on January 26 in Ottawa. Alex Kovalev opened the game’s scoring, giving the Senators a lead, 1-0, at 9:12 of the first period. Michalek extended the lead, 2-0, with a goal at 18:42 of the period. Jason Spezza scored the game’s final goal, pushing the Senators lead to 3-0 at 15:47 of the second period. Brian Elliot finished with 24 saves for the shutout. Martin Brodeur stopped nine shots before being replaced by Yann Danis in the third period. Danis stopped all six shots he faced.
Devils vs. Senators – This Season’s Matchup
The Devils and Senators will face off four times this season. The two teams play three of four games during the second half of the season, including twice in March. With the Senators always around the playoff bubble, those two late season matchups could determine potential seeding in the Eastern Conference.
The Senators made one of the bigger free agent splashes on July 1, signing defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a three-year contract. But that’s the only big free agent move the team made. Ottawa opted to keep its own talent, re-signing several players throughout the course of the offseason.
The Devils, as their record above indicates, have done well against the Senators. Before their loss last season, the Devils had won nine straight against Ottawa. They’ve always done well against the Senators, and with a team largely intact from last season, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. These are always good points to pick up, and I’d expect to see the Devils take at least six points from this matchup.
The Devils held Daniel Alfredsson and Spezza to four points – and no goals – combined…Milsn Michalek led all Ottawa scorers with three points, all goals…Langenbrunner was tops among Devils skaters, recording five points (two goals, three assists)…Even though Elliot shut out the Devils last season, he hasn’t enjoyed much success against them. In his four career starts (all last season), he was 1-3-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage.
Langenbrunner Photo Credit: Getty Images