Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils exacted revenge against the Ottawa Senators in a 5-2 victory on Friday night at the Prudential Center. With the win, the Devils tie the season series between these two teams at one apiece, after the Sens thumped the Devils in a 7-3 blowout early November.
Ottawa failed to stop New Jersey’s top line of Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Nico Hischier. The trio were active threats all night against the Senators, and each earned one of the game’s first, second, and third stars, respectively. After 60 minutes, Hall, the defending Hart Trophy champion, produced four points, including two goals and two assists, a plus three rating, and six shots on goal. Meanwhile, his line mates, Palmieri, recorded a goal and two assists, while the young Hischier notched a goal and an assist.
With the loss, the Senators slip to 15-17-4 and remain at 34 points. They currently sit seventh in the Atlantic Division and 23rd in the NHL. Meanwhile, the eighth placed Devils in the Metropolitan Division improve to 12-15-7 and 31 points, and are ranked 28th in the league.
By all counts, it seemed as though the Senators should have had the edge entering this game.
Their last game was a 4-3 overtime win against the Nashville Predators on Monday, so they were well rested. Elite sniper Matt Duchene and reliable defenseman Dylan DeMelo both returned to the line-up after missing time due to injury. While the Devils should have been worn down with this being their third game in four days. Their previous games were a 7-2 home flop against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday and a 2-1 road defeat on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Rather than the Senators gaining an edge, however, the Devils rose instead.
New Jersey struck just two minutes into this match when Pavel Zacha notched the Devil’s fifth short-handed goal of the season. Miles Wood was serving a penalty for goaltender interference against Craig Anderson in the first minute of play. Following that collision, Anderson did not seem to play as himself, and one wonders whether this early game event had a rattling effect on the 37-year-old goaltender. Palmieri would also score in the first period, as the Devils closed out the first period with a 2-0 lead, outshooting the Senators 11-7.
The Devils score three more in the second period, courtesy of Hall with two, and Hischier.
At times, Ottawa came close to coming back, but fell short. One of their best opportunities came when Brady Tkachuk shot the puck at a wide-open net, but Sami Vatanen dove to block the shot with his glove. As the puck deflected high, it was still on trajectory to enter the net. That’s when another Devil, Hischier, came out of nowhere to bat the airborne puck again. A mad scramble ensued, which resulted in an ugly Mark Stone giveaway, which sent Palmieri and Hall soaring down the ice on a 2-on-0 breakaway. The play ended with Hall beating Anderson on a nice cross-ice pass.
Up 5-2 after 40, both teams were scoreless in the final frame, as the team from Newark locked up the win.
Despite missing the last six games with a pulled groin, Duchene looked like his regular shifty, speedy self on the ice in this matchup. He didn’t miss a beat. The 27-year-old was playing with quick hands, fast feet, and his lethal shot.
In fact, Duchene was the only Senator to find the net behind Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid, for his 13th and 14th goals of the season. In the 2018-19 campaign, Duchene continues his raging pace, producing above a point-per-game. The Haliburton, Ontario native now has 36 points (14G, 22A) registered in 30 games.
Poor Power Play
The Senators may have had a better chance at two points against the Devils had their power play been more effective. On the night, the Senators had five opportunities but only managed to capitalize once, which translates to a 20 percent success rating.
Despite the struggles on the man advantage this game, Ottawa’s power play is ranked 12th in the NHL at 21.9 percent.
- Mike McKenna relieved Anderson at the start of the third period in this match-up. The 35-year-old stopped all seven shots he faced in the final frame.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Taylor Hall, New Jersey (2G, 2A, +3, 6 Shots)
- Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey (1G, 2A, +3)
- Nico Hischier, New Jersey (1G, 1A, +3)
The Senators immediately return home to welcome the Washington Capitals to Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday. This will be the first visit of the defending Stanley Cup Champions to Canada’s capital city this season.
|Pavel Zacha (5)||Brian Boyle (4)|
|Kyle Palmieri (18)||Taylor Hall (25)|
Nico Hischier (14)
|Matt Duchene (13)||Mark Stone (24)|
Thomas Chabot (27)
|Taylor Hall (10)||Kyle Palmieri (14)|
|Taylor Hall (11)||Kyle Palmieri (15)|
|Matt Duchene (14)||Bobby Ryan (13)|
Christian Jaros (4)
|Nico Hischier (9)||Taylor Hall (26)|
Will Butcher (9)
Cover Photo Credit: Julio Cortez / The Associated Press
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.