OTTAWA – The New Jersey Devils hate shootouts and for good reason.
The Devils could only cringe as they watched Erik Karlsson score the winner in the shootout, lifting the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 win Thursday night.
The Devils are now 0-12 in shootouts this season.
New Jersey goaltender Cory Schneider was visibly disgusted by yet another shootout loss.
“Take one of our quotes from any point this year and apply it to tonight,” said Schneider, who faced 32 shots. “It’s the same result.”
Jaromir Jagr didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the Devils’ fate.
“It’s frustrating, no question about it,” said Jagr. “(The shootout) probably cost us the playoffs, but you’ve got no other choice but to work on it.”
Karlsson is now 1-2 in shootouts this season and said he enjoys the challenge of scoring under pressure.
“It’s a fun thing to do,” said Karlsson. “It feels like we’ve been pretty successful over the course of the year, but it’s obviously always nice to score.”
Although eliminated from the playoffs the Senators, who have now won three in a row, are hoping to finish the season strong.
“That’s why we play this sport, it’s to win games,” Karlsson said. “Even though we haven’t done it on a regular basis this year like we wanted to that’s what we’re going to keep playing for no matter where we are in the standings and it feels good to put a couple together.”
Mike Hoffman also scored for the Senators (35-31-14) as Robin Lehner stopped 38 shots to win his third straight game.
Michael Ryder scored his 18th of the season for the Devils (34-29-17).
The game was forced into overtime as neither was able to break a 1-1 tie through the third.
With 35 seconds remaining in overtime the Senators went on the power play, but were unable to take advantage.
Overtime proved to be the best part of the game. The Devils had a great chance on a 3-on-1, but Lehner stopped Jagr and at the other end Schneider robbed Chris Phillips from in close. By the end of overtime Jagr had been stopped three times, including on a breakaway.
Lehner felt good about his game, especially the stops he made on Jagr.
“He’s a great player so it’s fun to see him come down the ice,” said Lehner. “You want to stop him.”
The game lacked any intensity for the first 30 minutes and looked like two teams who missed the playoffs playing out the season.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer admitted his team was flat the first 10 minutes and attributed it to the team still dealing with the reality of not making the playoffs. New Jersey was officially eliminated Wednesday night.
“You could see we were a little bit out of it,” said DeBoer. “There was a little bit of a hangover, but I thought once we started getting into the game and started to move and we carried the play. We should have had more than one goal.”
The first excitement for the 19,270 on hand at Canadian Tire Place came midway through the second when Ales Hemsky was awarded a penalty shot after being pulled down by Marek Zidlicky.
Hemsky made little of the opportunity as he shot wide of the net.
“We were a little sloppy early on, but I thought after that we woke up and generated chances and played our game,” said Schneider. “A little more up and down than we would have liked, but at least it was an entertaining game.”
The play did, however, seem to inspire the Senators as they scored a minute later when Mika Zibanejad made a pass back to a trailing Hoffman.
Zibanejad played just two shifts in the third period before leaving the game. He was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. The Senators gave details on the nature of his injury.
The Devils tied it at the 17-minute mark of the period as the Senators were unable to clear a rebound and Tim Sestito found Ryder through traffic.
A scoreless first period saw Ottawa’s Mark Stone miss on a great opportunity and Clarke MacArthur being robbed point blank. The Devils didn’t register their first shot until the eight-minute mark.
The Senators will play their last home game of the season Saturday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs, while the Devils return home to wrap up the season.
Notes: C Colin Greening returned to the Senators lineup after missing the last six games with a lower-body injury. The Senators were without D Jared Cowen (lower body, day-to-day) and RW Bobby Ryan (sports hernia, out for season). LW Matt Kassian and C Jean-Gabriel Pageau were healthy scratches. … The New Jersey Devils LW Patrik Elias returned after missing the last two games. The Devils were without C Adam Henrique (undisclosed, day-to-day), C Jacob Josefson (lower body, day-to-day), LW Ryan Clowe (head, day-to-day) and D Bryce Salvador (lower body, day-to-day). D Peter Harrold and D Eric Gelinas were healthy scratches.