The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (8-17-2) at the Ottawa Senators (12-15-2)
Season Series: It’s the first of four meetings this season. New Jersey took the first three meetings on the 2009-10 schedule before Ottawa goalie Brian Elliott stopped all 24 shots in a 3-0 win on Jan. 26, the most recent matchup
The Last Devils Game: The Devils rolled into Pittsburgh riding a 2 game losing streak. Lets face it, the Devils haven’t been playing well at all and the Penguins, well they’ve been the best team in the league recently, so losing 2-1 wasn’t so bad right? Oh, yea, the Devils really need any point they can get right now so yea, any kind of loss is soul sucking.
The Last Senators Game: The Sens hosted the Rangers and played a see-saw hockey game where everytime they scored the Rangers would find a way to tie it up. Eventually after the Rangers did it 3 times in a 3-3 game, the Rangers struck twice more for a 5-3 win.
Tonight’s Game: What can you say? We know the fans are miserable right now and Lou isn’t happy either but didn’t make any huge changes between the Pittsburgh game and tonights game. Unless you want to say that Stephen Gionta and Olivier Magnan is a huge shakeup, which it isn’t.
So tonight is a matchup of two teams that are just plain struggling. Look at Ottawa, they are paying Alex Kovalev $5 million this season to sit on the 4th line because his game has become total crap. BUT, the Sens are 12-15-2 and I think any Devils fans would jump to be that close to a .500 hockey club. To me the Sens are a few tweaks away from being competitive, the Devils on the other hand, well you’ve watched them this season.
Volchenkov returns to his old stomping ground tonight for the first time since bolting this summer and he told the media yesterday that yes, he is a little nervous. That makes me nervous because he doesn’t need any distractions as the defense is playing poor enough as it is.
Marty Brodeur makes his return in net tonight and lets hope that brings some kind of uplift to the entire team. I’ll be one to admit that I didn’t think Marty looked all that hot before his injury so I can’t really say I am expecting much from his return tonight. The saving grace for Marty is that Ottawa isn’t too far ahead of the Devils in the goals per game department.
Hopefully New Jersey can find a way to score a few tonight, find a way to win and find some momentum because tonight they are playing what some say is one of the worst teams in the league right now (although they are better than NJ) but they turn around and come home to host one of the best teams in the league, the Detroit Red Wings, tomorrow night.
Injury report: New Jersey forwards Zach Parise (knee) and Jacob Josefson (hand) and defensemen Bryce Salvador (concussion), Anssi Salmela (knee), Mark Fraser (hand) and Matt Taormina (ankle) are on injured reserve. … The Senators are healthy.