Senators seek rare road success against Devils

Before they left for a lengthy road trip, the frustration was growing for the New Jersey Devils and their fans, who constantly witnessed third-period leads disappear.

Nearly two weeks later, the Devils return home from a fairly successful road trip and hope to start improving their performance in front of their home fans Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators.

The Devils are 2-2-4 at home and went 2-2-2 on a six-game homestand from Oct. 14-Nov. 1 when they lost a third-period lead three times. During those six games, the Devils squandered points by blowing a three-goal lead to Florida, a two-goal lead to Tampa Bay and one-goal lead to Philadelphia.

New Jersey will play eight of its next 12 games at home through Dec. 6 before a four-game road trip, and the Devils return to home ice after going 3-2 on a five-game trip. The Devils won the first two games in Carolina and Winnipeg before disappointing losses in Edmonton and Calgary, but the trip ended with a 2-1 win at Vancouver on Sunday.

Wayne Simmonds and Jesper Bratt scored 22 seconds apart in the opening period while Mackenzie Blackwood made 30 saves. Taylor Hall had an assist and has points in eight of his past nine games, though he only has two goals and openly expressed frustration with the booing at home after the overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Oct. 30.

During the trip, the Devils performed better in third periods in their three wins. They scored twice in the third to get a win in Carolina on Nov. 2 and did not allow any goals in the third as Blackwood went 3-1 on the trip.

"It was a resilient effort. We're in these situations more and more and have handled them better as of late," Devils coach John Hynes said. "Really liked the way we were able to handle that and then find a way to be able to win the game."

Ottawa heads to New Jersey coming off a nightmarish 8-2 loss in Carolina on Monday night. After winning five of their previous eight games, the Senators absorbed their worst loss of the season, falling behind 44 seconds into the game and allowing three goals apiece in the second and third periods.

"We failed to keep the guys with the program," Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey said. "It was 3-0, not a great spot to be on the road, but we certainly didn't do a good enough job keeping ourselves on the program. We get off the program going up the ice and their guys come flying at us. So, that's on those of us who know better to make sure, that even at 3-0, it's not time to go crazy."

Colin White and Brady Tkachuk scored for Ottawa, but Anders Nilsson was pulled after being named the NHL's first star of the week and winning his previous three starts.

The loss continued Ottawa's struggles on the road. The Senators are 1-6-1 on the road, and Monday's ugly loss was their fourth road defeat by at least three goals so far and second straight lopsided road defeat since a 6-2 win at the New York Rangers on Nov. 4.

The Devils took two of three meetings with Ottawa last season, outscoring the Senators 9-2 after a 7-3 loss in Ottawa on Nov. 6, 2018. New Jersey also has won six of the past nine home meetings against Ottawa.

--Field Level Media
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