New Jersey Devils Gameday Preview: Ottawa Senators
The New Jersey Devils are one of the NHL’s hottest teams, winning seven in a row for the first time since 2011. Their next test comes in the form of the Ottawa Senators, which will mark the Devils’ fifth game in a row against a Canadian team. The Devils are 10-3-0 on the season, while the Senators are 4-8-0.
After successfully sweeping their Western Canada road trip, the Devils returned to the Prudential Center on Nov. 8, defeating the Calgary Flames 3-2, their second straight win against them. The game-winning goal was scored by captain Nico Hischier, faking out Jacob Markstrom to seal the win in front of a rowdy crowd. “To be honest, I first couldn’t believe it,” Hischier said post-game. “I had this move in my head, but I thought I’m way too far out. It was pretty cool. It got me fired up.”
Related: Devils Sweep Home & Home with Flames
Latest News & Highlights
This is the first time this season that the Devils and Senators meet – the teams will play each other again on Nov. 19 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata. Following that, the next time New Jersey and Ottawa collide is on March 25, much later in the season, when both teams could look very different.
On the injury front, Devils winger Ondřej Palát underwent successful groin surgery and is expected to miss the next 8-10 weeks. Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood has an MCL sprain and is expected to be out for 3-6 weeks. The Senators are also banged up and could be without center Josh Norris for the rest of the season. Ottawa is coming off a loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 9, falling 6-4.
The Devils Projected Lines:
Tomas Tatar – Nico Hischier – Fabian Zetterlund
Erik Haula – Jack Hughes – Jesper Bratt
Yegor Sharangovich – Dawson Mercer – Jesper Boqvist
Miles Wood – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler – Dougie Hamilton
Ryan Graves – John Marino
Brendan Smith – Damon Severson
The Senators Projected Lines:
Brady Tkachuk – Tim Stützle – Claude Giroux
Alex DeBrincat – Derick Brassard – Drake Batherson
Tyler Motte – Shane Pinto – Mathieu Joseph
Parker Kelly – Marc Kastelic – Austin Watson
Thomas Chabot – Jacob Bernard-Docker
Travis Hamonic – Jake Sanderson
Erik Brannstrom – Nick Holden
What’s Happening in Ottawa
The Senators have lost six straight games as of Nov. 10. They are last in the Atlantic Division and have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. Despite their struggles, captain Brady Tkachuk still has confidence in the team. “The last bunch of games here, we’ve been playing well,” he said. “We have all the belief in the world that we’re going to do it, that we’re going to get it done. It’s definitely frustrating, though.”
With that said, there are still some positives. Tkachuk has 16 points in 12 games, and newly-acquired winger Alex DeBrincat has 11 points. The team did make two recent roster moves, waiving defenseman Nikita Zaitsev and goaltender Magnus Hellberg on Nov. 9. However, the biggest news about the Sens involves ownership. The Melnyk family is looking to sell the team, and actor Ryan Reynolds’ name is swirling among potential buyers. The Deadpool star has expressed interest, and he received a standing ovation when he attended the game against the Canucks in Ottawa.
Keep an Eye On:
New Jersey Devils: Dougie Hamilton
Three Devils scored goals in the team’s win over Calgary on Nov. 8, and two of them were defensemen. New Jersey took the lead on a strong shot off the stick of Dougie Hamilton, who also added the primary assist on the Hischier overtime winner. It was his first goal since Oct. 18 and his first multi-point game since Oct. 25. He also had six shots on goal, three more than any other Devil.
So far, Hamilton has performed like the star defenseman that they hoped for when they signed him in the summer of 2021. In 13 games, Hamilton has 10 points, ranked fourth on the team and four ahead of Ryan Graves, who was the other defenseman that found the back of the net against the Flames. Like the rest of the Devils, Hamilton is on a tear, and with Jonas Siegenthaler by his side, there’s no reason to believe that his strong run will stop anytime soon.
Ottawa Senators: Claude Giroux
Claude Giroux, a longtime Devils foe, signed with the Senators in the summer, and he has looked right at home with his new club. He has 11 points in 12 games this season, and in 63 career games against the Devils, he has an impressive 56 points.
Giroux is on a four-game goal-scoring streak and found the back of the net against Vancouver off a beautiful feed from Jake Sanderson. He scored against his former club, the Philadelphia Flyers, on Nov. 5 and scored twice against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 3. Giroux has been dangerous for years, and New Jersey has to defend him well.
Where to Tune In:
The Senators and Devils will play at 10:00 on MSGSN, with Bill Spaulding and Ken Daneyko calling the action. The Devils Hockey Network will also host the game and feature Matt Loughlin and Chico Resch on commentary.
Erik Johnsen is one of the NJ Devils writer for The Hockey Writers. He is also a writer for Triple Play Newsletter. Erik is a 2022 Rider University graduate, and co-hosts a podcast called Too Many Men.