Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Playoff Hopes Are Fading Fast

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Playoff Hopes Are Fading Fast

Article excerpt

NEWARK - When the epitaph is written on the Devils' 2012-13 season - probably after their regular-season finale at Madison Square Garden in two weeks - the words will also encapsulate what the fans at Prudential Center saw Friday night.

It was yet another game in which the Devils outshot their opponent and created numerous scoring chances but could not finish without Ilya Kovalchuk in the lineup. This time it was goaltender Craig Anderson foiling them repeatedly in a 2-0 Ottawa Senators victory that extended the Devils' losing streak to an unfathomable nine games.

The Devils lost despite outshooting the Senators, 33-11, as Anderson posted his third shutout of the season. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Milan Michalek scored second-period goals and that was plenty of support for Anderson.

The nine consecutive losses are one short of the team record set from Oct. 14 to Nov. 4, 1983 -- the franchise's second season in New Jersey.

Moving a step closer to their second playoff-less spring in three seasons, the Devils remained four points behind the eighth-place Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with only seven games remaining. The Rangers also have a game in hand.

It was the second time in the nine games Kovalchuk has missed with a right shoulder injury (0-5-4) that the Devils were shut out. Kovalchuk is getting closer to returning but still wasn't ready Friday.

Even if he makes it back for the Devils' next game Monday night in Toronto, irreparable damage already has been done.

The Devils did not play a game Thursday, but it was still a bad day for them as the NHL scoreboard brought no help to their playoff chances with the sixth-place Senators and seventh-place Islanders winning to open six-point gaps on the Devils.

"You can't ignore it," head coach Pete DeBoer said of the teams ahead of the Devils winning. "But, at the same time, we just have to take care of our business and give ourselves a chance to stay in the mix. And the only way you do that is with a win."

As hard as the Devils tried, however, they could not break their pattern of futility. The first period was all too familiar as they outshot the Senators, 9-3, and had three power plays, including a 5- on-3 for 1:24, but could not score on Anderson. …

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