Tag: Travis Zajac

Brock Nelson, Cory Schneider

Get your game notes: Caps at Devils


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New Jersey Devils hosting the Washington Capitals starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

—- Washington has lost four straight (0-2-2) for the fourth time this season; New Jersey has earned a point in five straight games (2-0-3 record) but has lost three of its last four (all shootout losses). The Devils are in danger of missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since they went five straight without an appearance (1982-87). The Capitals’ consecutive playoff streak is also in jeopardy, having last missed the playoffs in 2006-07 (6 straight seasons).

—- The Devils have six games remaining and a chance at a 7-0-1 finish if they can run the table. Twenty-six years ago, the 1987-88 Devils – led by goalie Sean Burke – mounted a 7-0-1 season-ending charge to grab the final Patrick Division playoff spot on the season’s final day, the team’s first playoff berth in New Jersey. The Devils went on to win two playoff rounds, falling one victory short of the Stanley Cup Final.

—- Jaromir Jagr leads the Devils in points (64) this season followed by Patrik Elias (51 pts.) – the two are the only Devils with 50+ points this season (Travis Zajac & Adam Henrique – 43 pts. each are next). Washington is even more top-heavy – Nicklas Backstrom leads in points (73) with Alex Ovechkin right behind him in scoring (72 pts.). Joel Ward is next on the team with 43 points.

—- Three of New Jersey’s last four games have ended in shootout losses (vs. PHX, at NYI, at BUF – with a win over FLA between the Islanders & Sabres game), dropping the Devils to 0-11 in shootouts this season, and to a league-record 15 straight SO losses dating to last March 15. New Jersey’s skaters are a combined 3-for-39 on shootout attempts. Since the NHL instituted shootouts in 2005-06, only three teams have completed a season without winning one, none with more than five losses.

—- If games ended in ties – shootouts removed from the standings equation – New Jersey currently would be tied with Columbus, at 80 points, for the East’s second Wild Card, 1 pt. behind Detroit.

—- Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the last tie game in the NHL (April 4, 2004) – Carolina tied at Florida, 6-6. The Flyers and the Islanders also tied 3-3 earlier in the day.

—- Ovechkin (48 goals) and teammate Troy Brouwer (23 goals) lead the league in goal differential among a team’s first- and second-highest goal-scorer, +25, a difference of 10 more compared to the next-largest margin – Montreal’s Max Pacioretty (35) & Tomas Plekanec (20), +15.

—- Ovechkin’s -36 rating is the worst in the league; Alexander Edler (VAN) & Nail Yakupov (EDM) have the second-worst at -33. Ovechkin can become the first player ever to lead the league in goals and come in last in plus-minus.

—- New Jersey is 14-9-4 vs. the Metropolitan Div. this season while Washington is 10-14-3 in the division.

—- The Capitals rank first in the league in power-play percentage (23.7%), while the Devils rank first in penalty-kill percentage (86.9%). New Jersey has killed off 12 of 13 power plays in its last four games; Washington is 2/12 on the power play in its last three games including going 0/5 in its last game.

NHL on NBCSN: Devils host Capitals as both try to keep playoff hope alive

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New Jersey Devils host the Washington Capitals at the Prudential Center at 7:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

People say desperate times call for desperate measures. If that’s the case tonight in Newark, the Devils and Capitals will both be reaching deep into their respective bags of tricks.

The Capitals are currently four points behind Columbus for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference and the Devils are five points back. Both teams need a win tonight to keep their fading hopes alive of reaching the playoffs and, likely, facing the Boston Bruins in the first round.

Both teams have had their issues lately.

For Washington, much of the grumbling has centered around Alex Ovechkin’s struggles at even strength. The reigning league MVP went the month of March without an even-strength point and has been getting crushed for his league-low plus/minus rating of minus-36.

While Ovechkin has 48 goals this season, he’s done the bulk of his damage on the power play. If the Capitals are going to stick around in the playoff race, they have to find a way to get Ovechkin and the rest of the top line working 5-on-5.

For now, at least, he won’t have Jay Beagle centering his line as coach Adam Oates has put Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom with Ovechkin. It’s the ultimate “put all your eggs in one basket” move.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $200. Starts Friday at 7pm ETHere’s the FanDuel link.

The Devils have their own problems to worry about. Despite Cory Schneider having played outstanding for most of the season, he’s been cold lately. With Martin Brodeur there to back him up, that would ideally mean things stayed steady. Instead, Schneider’s play has been equal with Brodeur’s and that’s not a good thing considering the future Hall of Famer is nearing the end of his career.

What that’s meant for New Jersey is they’ve needed to score more goals. That task has been fine for the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Adam Henrique but contributions from others have been a bit scattered. Travis Zajac netting a hat trick against Florida was a good sign, but they need more and from many others.

One thing the Devils have to find a way to do is avoid going to the shootout. They’re 0-11 in shootouts this season and while they’ve lost three of the past four games, all three losses came in the skills competition.

The biggest “What if” question Devils players and fans could wind up asking themselves is, “What if they won half of those shootouts?” If they did, they’d be right in the mix for the postseason with Columbus and Detroit instead of desperately needing a win to stay in the hunt.

Jagr bashes team’s efforts after leading them to victory

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 22: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center on March 22, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Rangers shut out the Devils 2-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jaromir Jagr had a four-point night to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 6-3 victory over the Florida Panthers. It was a win the Devils desperately needed as they hope against reason that they can still make the playoffs.

But Jagr wasn’t in the mood to celebrate Monday night.

“We gotta play better hockey than today,” Jagr said, per NJ.com. “That’s for sure. Otherwise we don’t have a chance. We’ve gotta play better hockey. We were lucky.”

Jagr went onto say his team was “sleeping” and that they played like it was “a (bleep)ing preseason game.”

The 42-year-old forward hasn’t been shy when it comes to expressing himself to the media. In January, he openly wondered if the Devils simply weren’t good enough because they were repeatedly making the same mistakes. When he was separated from linemate Travis Zajac — who he helped earn his first career hat trick last night — in February, he said that it didn’t make sense.

It’s worth adding that Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and coach Pete DeBoer have both previously defended Jagr’s right to call out his teammates.

Devils’ Clowe leaves game against Panthers, reports he appeared dazed after hard hit

Columbus Blue Jackets v New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe left Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers and did not return for the third period, the club announced via Twitter.

From NHL.com:

Clowe, who missed 32 games this season with a concussion, was rattled by Howden with 1:09 remaining in the second and the Devils holding a 4-3 lead. He appeared dazed by the hit while being looked over by trainers.

Clowe was having his most productive offensive game as a Devil with one goal and three points. In his absence, Devils coach Peter DeBoer has reinserted Tuomo Ruutu on the top line alongside center Travis Zajac and right wing Jaromir Jagr.

There was no update on Clowe following the game, as per Mike Morreale of NHL.com.

Click here for a link to see the hit from Panthers’ center Quinton Howden that knocked Clowe out of the game.

The 31-year-old Clowe returned from a concussion on Dec. 27. The initially suffered the injury in October, after taking an elbow to the head during a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Devils defeated the Panthers by a final score of 6-3, with Zajac scoring his first career hat trick.

Video: Devils’ Zajac records first career hat trick

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

Travis Zajac had the hot stick for the New Jersey Devils on Monday.

The veteran center scored three times – his first career hat trick – and added an assist for a four-point night against the Florida Panthers, and the Devils recorded a 6-3 victory to get within three points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

While Zajac enjoyed a career night, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on nine shots. Cory Schneider came in, stopping all 13 shots he faced.