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Devils Postgame

Devils Takeaways: Disorganized, Unprepared Devils Trounced by Senators 5-2

Devils revert to sloppy, disorganized play hosting the Senators on home ice.



New Jersey Devils
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEWARK — This is what Travis Green meant by claiming the New Jersey Devils were immature.

New Jersey played some of their best hockey this week and had a huge opportunity at another crucial two points after the Nashville Predators defeated the Detroit Red Wings in regulation earlier on Saturday.

Instead, the Devils came out flat, sloppy, and Jake Allen wasn’t perfect for once.

As a result, the Devils squandered an opportunity against an inferior Ottawa Senators club that left Green shaking his head behind New Jersey’s bench.

Let’s dive into the Devils’ 5-2 loss to the Senators in Allen’s fourth consecutive start.

Devils Recap

The Devils’ streak of scoring the first goal of the game came to an end on Saturday night. Ottawa’s  Mathieu Joseph picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and was sprung for a breakaway, giving the Senators a 1-0 lead shorthanded. Down a goal in the second period, it took the Devils just 59 seconds to score twice, once by Jesper Bratt and another by Tomas Nosek, 36 seconds apart. The Devils’ lead was short-lived, however, as Ridley Greig and Angus Crookshank helped reclaim the Senators’ lead just six minutes later, and Thomas Chabot added an extra tally. Drake Batherson sunk the nail in the coffin, netting the Senators fifth goal en route to Ottawa’s victory.

Allen made 20 saves on 25 shots.


Pucks Forward, Not Backward

One of the biggest problems with the Devils’ puck transition game this season has been their tendency to drop the puck backward in the neutral zone to a trailing puck carrier.

More often than not, those attempts have been met at the opposition’s blue line and turned over for a non-chance for the Devils.

That happened often in the first period, especially on the power play when Luke Hughes was carrying the puck from the Devils’ end of the ice.

One of the bigger concerns in that transition was the uncertainty that Luke’s drop pass would be picked up by a Devils skater. In one instance in the first period, a Senators forward nearly intercepted the pass for a shorthanded breakaway.

Speaking of shorthanded breakaways, there was one for the Senators on a Devils power play. However, it wasn’t because of Luke.

Instead, Dawson Mercer made an errant pass at Ottawa’s blue line. Erik Haula was able to recover the puck but turned it over as quickly as he retrieved it, passing it backward to no one and springing Joseph for a shorthanded breakaway goal.

The Devils’ first period was the opposite of their Thursday night effort against the Winnipeg Jets when they were pushing the puck up the ice all night, and the results followed.

Jake Allen is Human

That’s right, folks. Jake Allen is, in fact, a human.

After the Devils scored two goals 36 seconds apart from each other within the first minute of the middle frame, the Senators scored three straight goals to not only reclaim the lead but add an insurance marker as well.

You could certainly feel the oxygen leave the Prudential Center.

However, if you look at how the goals were scored, the brunt of the blame should hardly go to Allen. Perhaps the Crookshank goal was the most saveable. But credit where it’s due, that was a howitzer of a shot.

Looking at Greig’s goal, John Marino turned the puck over with a lazy pass around the boards that was turned over to the Senators, pushed up to Greig in the slot all alone, and slid the puck past the sprawling Allen.

Later while down 3-2, Luke transitioned the puck through the neutral zone and passed the puck to Ondrej Palat at the Ottawa blue line. It was an imperfect pass fell behind Palat who attempted to kick the rubber up to his stick to keep the play moving forward. Instead, Palat kicked it to Thomas Chabot who pushed the puck toward the other end of the ice, passed it off, and finished a 4-on-1 rush the other way.

Whereas the defensive effort was excellent against the Jets on Thursday, Saturday night’s effort was the polar opposite.


Jesper Bratt said it best. When the Devils should have gone North to South, they went East to West.

New Jersey looked nothing like they did against the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week. They got away from their game plan.

“[We] played some solid hockey in the beginning of the second and then started trying out some dumb stuff and we started going east to west instead of north to south and we got away from our game a little bit,” Bratt explained.

The 59 seconds it took the Devils to score two goals were the most connected they had been all night. Other than that, they couldn’t string together two passes, left pucks loose in neutral zone areas, lost their puck battles, and left Allen out to dry for the majority of the night.

Saturday night’s effort was the polar opposite of the team we saw dominate the Jets just a few nights ago.

“Every part of our game, everything that I said the other night about our game that I liked, it was the opposite tonight,” Green explained. “Give their team credit, they played well. They’ve got a lot of skill in the group and their back end can be very mobile. But, it didn’t look like our team was ready for their speed. Our execution with our passing was not nearly good enough. Receiving passes wasn’t nearly good enough, and when you are not making two consecutive passes in a row it’s pretty hard to gain traction and you’re gonna look disorganized and gonna look like we did tonight.”

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