New Jersey Devils (3-2-1) at Ottawa Senators (4-1-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday October 25, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Ottawa Senators / New Jersey Devils --- Over/Under:
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A red-hot start has gotten a lot of people excited in Ottawa but the Senators are hoping that a weeklong layoff won’t take the steam out of their sails. Having not played since last Saturday night the Senators will host the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Place. Ottawa was scheduled to play Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs before that game was suspended due to the shooting in downtown Ottawa. When they last took the ice the Senators found a way to overcome a blown lead to take down the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-2. David Legwand had given the Senators a 1-0 first period lead and Erik Karlsson added to it before Ottawa watched it evaporate. Columbus scored twice in less than a minute to even things at 2-2 heading into the third. It wasn’t an easy third period for Ottawa but goaltender Robin Lehner helped them steal the game. Lehner made 17 saves over the final 20 minutes and the Senators scratched out a goal off the stick of Mike Hoffman and found a way to win. Saturday night’s contest is going to be an emotional one for a lot of people and the Senators should be motivated to give the home crowd something to feel good about in the wake of all that has gone on this week.
For the New Jersey Devils it has been a hot start that has been quelled by some poor play recently. New Jersey is integrating some new faces on the ice and the added scoring depth up front should help them but there is a lot of age in the players they are counting on. Friday night they got goals from Eric Gelinas and Damien Brunner but fell to the Dallas Stars 3-2 in a shootout. It was another mediocre effort from the Devils but they at least managed to score a late goal and get a point out of things. Jaromir Jagr seems ageless and Patrik Elias has continued to put up points year after year but one has to wonder when time is going to catch up with them. Head coach Peter Deboer has an infatuation with captain Bryce Salvador despite consistent poor play, and there are a lot of questions all over the ice. Still, this is a team that has the ability to beat anyone in the National Hockey League when they play their game, but it’s clearly predicated on keeping the puck in the opponent’s end. The Devils are not the same type of club at defending when they’re pinned in and so they need their defenseman to move the puck quickly, make smart outlet passes, and find a way to get the forwards moving back up ice. Saturday’s contest is going to be a challenging one for them because they’ll be playing the second leg of a back-to-back against a team that has been off for a full week and likes to use their speed. The Devils need to jump on the Senators early while they’re still trying to find their legs. Once Ottawa gets going it’s going to be a difficult task for New Jersey.
The Devils have been competitive but haven’t been able to find a win these last few games. Ottawa needs to take command early and then use New Jersey’s tired legs against them as the game wears on.