Devils fall to Senators in shootout
According to his bio, Ottawa Senators goalie Ben Bishop stands 6-7.
Yet on Monday, Bishop stood so much taller than that for the reeling Sens.
Ottawa, missing all-world players Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson, gained its first win in three games, beating New Jersey 2-1 in
the skills competition a shootout Monday afternoon at Prudential Center.
Bishop stopped 30 shots, and one of three in the shootout, to gain his first win since March 24, 2012. Daniel Alfredsson also potted a goal– his 420th NHL tally.
Stephen Gionta scored his second goal of this season. The Devils fell for the third time in four contests but did earn point No. 22, pushing them into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh.
For the third game in a row, the Devils blew an early lead.
Gionta scored at 1:25 of the first– scooping up a juicy rebound off Steve Bernier’s first shot and beating Bishop– giving the Devils a first-period advantage for the third time in four games.
New Jersey recorded a season-high 17 shots in the first, blitzing Bishop. Only the 26-year-old netminder kept New Jersey from scoring more than once.e
Late in regulation, the Devils and Sens engaged in some pleasantries.
With just 20 seconds remaining in the third, Ottawa defender Eric Gryba speared Patrik Elias’ on the leg– a foul which was seen, but reportedly not called by either Brad Meier or Kyle Rehman. Elias ran Senators defender Marc Methot, pushing him into Bishop.
David Clarkson and Chris Neil wrestled and were each given two-minute minors for unsportsmanlike conduct and 10-minute misconducts. Elias was also given a minor for roughing, as was Methot.
Elias doesn’t get irritated too much, which suggests Gryba injured him. Expect supplementary discipline to take care of Gryba in the coming days.
The Devils’ beleaguered penalty kill killed all four power plays it faced.
New Jersey– which had dropped all the way to 20th thanks to three power-play goals allowed on Saturday on Long Island– had allowed man-advantage goals in five straight games before Monday.
Ottawa, which was missing two important power-play pieces– Karlsson and Spezza– is 0-for-its-last 25. The Senators even failed to convert a 4-on-3 power play for 1:47 in overtime.
Before the game, Jacob Josefson was sent back to Albany (AHL).
The Devils recalled Andrei Loktionov before the game, making the fourth-line center expendable. Josefson had not recorded a point since Jan. 25, and was a team-worst minus-8 in 15 games.
Loktionov, who was acquired last week from Los Angeles, took a hooking minor early in the third, and was a minus-1 in 9:31. He centered the fourth line with Krys Barch and Bobby Butler.
Ryan Carter also was diagnosed with an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return.
Ottawa forward Jakob Silfverberg had a big day.
The 22-year old forward recorded his first point in five games– the primary-assist on Alfredsson’s third-period mark. He also beat Martin Brodeur with a snap-shot– the only goal of the shootout.
Bishop stopped Elias’ shootout attempt. Ilya Kovalchuk and Butler both missed– Butler’s try was to keep the game alive.
The Devils will get two days off after playing three games in four days.
New Jersey plays its next two games in Washington, Thursday and Saturday. Thursday’s contest, from the Verizon Center, will start at 7 p.m.
Pat Pickens is a New Jersey native and lifelong Devils fan. Follow him on Twitter here.