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McElhinney, Senators Slow Devils Roll

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 10:48 PM

Posted ImageSens goalie makes a save in a 3-1 win over NJ

For the second time in five games The New Jersey Devils Cinderella comeback was temporarily halted by the last place Ottawa Senators. Playing the role of spoilers, the Senators defeated New Jersey 3-1 in front of their home crowd.

If the Devils fall short in their chase for the last playoff spot in the East they will have a long time to think back to these games against Ottawa.

New Jersey entered the game confident and appeared to be gaining steam for the stretch run. Unfortunately, the Senators led from start to finish despite being out shot 34-25 and with the puck in their zone for long periods of time.

The Devils blew a golden opportunity to move within 4 points of the idle Buffalo Sabres for the coveted 8th and final playoff spot.

“They’re all hard to give,” coach Jacques Lemaire said of the two lost points. “I felt we played decent. We could’ve won the game. Their goalie was really good. We had our chances. Just didn’t score.”

Newly acquired Ottawa goaltender Curtis McElhinney was the difference. He made many critical saves including a huge stop on Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk’s break-away with 6:25 left in the third.

The Devils trailed, 1-0, at the start on the third and Ottawa struck quickly to ice the game for good.

Erik Karlsson’s shot from above the right circle 55 seconds in was deflected into the air by Chris Neil. Neil tried to swat the puck out of the air, but missed as the puck went into the net.

After a video review the goal stood and the Senators never looked back.

Less then a minute later the Devils looked as though they cut the deficit in half when a Colin White shot from the left point beat McElhinney. However, the goal was disallowed because of goalie interference.

The Devils avoided the shut out on Brian Rolston’s power play goal at 5:02. But, the goal was too little too late as the Sens weathered the storm until a Chris Neil empty netter in the last minute sealed New Jersey’s fate.

The Devils can’t sit around and sulk too long because they return to New Jersey to face the Washington Capitals tomorrow night at The Rock. The Devils will be wearing their throw back jersey’s for just the second time since the team switched colors at the start of the 1992-93 season.

If New Jersey can bounce back at home, tonight’s game will be just another bump in what has been a long road full of bumps.

Box Score Here

stats for NHL.com

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