For the first time all season, the Ottawa Senators can feel satisfaction in winning consecutive games.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils are experiencing significant displeasure at recent defensive difficulties.
The Senators seek their season-high third straight win Monday night when they head to Newark, N.J., to face the Devils, whose three-game skid has seen them allow 18 goals.
The game is a makeup of the original Nov. 16 game which was postponed due to Ottawa’s COVID-19 outbreak. When the outbreak started, the Senators were coming off a 4-0 home loss to the Calgary Flames on Nov. 14 and that was part of a six-game skid that saw Ottawa allow 31 goals.
Ottawa broke the ugly slide by notching a 3-2 win over the host Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and followed it up with a 6-5 overtime home victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Brady Tkachuk scored 51 seconds into overtime.
“We’ve had some good efforts, but we know we’ve got more,” Tkachuk said. “We’re going to learn from all those negative things throughout the game but we’re getting more and more confident each and every day. A lot of guys are stepping up to the plate. It’s definitely a lot more fun winning.”
Tkachuk’s game-winner occurred hours after general manager Pierre Dorion gave a state of the team address and said, “the buck stops with him.”
“There’s still 60 games left, the work ethic is there, the will to win is there, and we’re going to continue,” Dorion said.
Tkachuk and Tim Stuetzle both had two goals and an assist as the Senators scored six goals for the second time this season.
New Jersey won three straight from Nov. 6-11 but is on a 2-6-2 skid over its past 10 games. The Devils own five losses by at least three goals in that skid are have been outscored 18-8 in their past three games.
After consecutive 5-2 losses to the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild, the Devils dropped an 8-4 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
New Jersey trailed by three goals 7:39 into the game and took the lead on goals by Damon Severson, Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Ryan Graves before allowing three goals in the final nine-plus minutes of the second period and two more in the third.
“We have to clean up our D-zone,” Hischier said. “There’s no way in this league you’re going to win hockey games when you get scored on that many times, and that’s what happened today. So, we definitely got to clean up.”
The Devils allowed 40 shots, marking the fourth time they allowed at least 40 shots and third time in its skid. New Jersey also broke an 0-for-17 skid on the power play and is 2-for-24 on the man advantage in its last 10.
“Right now, we’re being challenged,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’s a mental challenge. It’s a physical challenge. You have to learn from every game you play. You have to learn from every situation that hurts you. Our puck management needs to be a lot better.”
The teams are meeting for the first time since Jan. 27, 2020 in Ottawa when Hughes scored in the shootout to clinch New Jersey’s 4-3 win. The Devils are 6-3-0 in the past nine meetings with four wins beyond regulation.
–Field Level Media