The Senators attack was lifeless without their leading scorer, and Ilya Kovalchuk’s 400th NHL goal stood up as the game winner in a 1-0 Devils victory.
New Jersey was at it’s neutral zone trapping best as the Devils made sure all of the Senators offense came from the perimeter, making life fairly easy for backup goalie Johan Hedberg who collected his third shutout of the season with the win.
Ottawa seemed disorganized without Spezza on the ice to lead the attack leaving head coach Paul MacLean grasping at straws late in the game while looking for the tying goal.
With Ottawa enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage with time winding down in the third period MacLean went so far as to send three defenseman over the boards in an attempt to find an offensive spark. Considering MacLean’s options up front are all stone cold this was a solid move by the Ottawa coach despite how unorthodox it may have seemed to the casual observer.
Even with Spezza in the lineup the Senators powerplay has been anemic lately, going 0-for-3 against the Devils, and 0-for-21 over the past six games. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by the Ottawa coaching staff quickly if the Senators are to have any type of success going forward.
Ottawa simply cannot afford to sit back and wait for Erik Karlsson to lead an end to end rush to save their bacon against teams like New Jersey, or their most likely playoff opponent the Boston Bruins.
Ottawa will look to get back on track Friday when they take on the last place Montreal Canadiens.