New Jersey Devils at Ottawa Senators on March 17, 2011

Revenge is a dish best served cold — like on the sheet of hockey ice.

New Jersey Devils at Ottawa Senators on March 17, 2011
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


THE STORY:
Revenge is a dish best served cold — like on the sheet of hockey ice. The New Jersey Devils haven’t had many hiccups on their stunning run towards a playoff spot, but one of them came nine days ago with a 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Jersey outshot Ottawa 32-21 in that game, but Craig Anderson was nearly unbeatable and Erik Condra led the way on offence with two goals.

THE SUBPLOTS: Will Anderson be okay to play in this one? He missed practice yesterday and the team didn’t say much more than that. This isn’t the first time Anderson’s been injured this season, which could be a little worrisome to a Senators team trying to decide whether or not to sign him to a long-term, big-money contract. GM Bryan Murray has been paying Pascal Leclaire not to play much the past couple seasons.

THE WILDCARD: Chris Phillips. A major factor in consecutive losses to the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins was sloppy defensive play. Anderson and backup Curtis McElhinney can only do so much — they need their top shut-down defenceman at the top of his game. The Devils are more than willing to sit back and wait for their opponent to make a mistake, so Phillips and Co. will need to minimize them tonight.

THE OPPONENT: The Devils haven’t lost a game since falling to the Senators, and are 23-3-2 in their last 28 games. That unbelievable run has them back in the playoff conversation, but they still have plenty of work to do. They still trail eighth-place Buffalo by six points (although Jersey does have a game in hand). The Devils have three tough games coming up against Washington, Boston and Pittsburgh, so they need to take advantage of a lesser light here.

THE QUOTE: “For me, the gold medal is the motivation. “I have two silver medals. I would really like to win the gold medal. I missed 20 games and I feel good now. Hopefully I get the call, but stuff like that is out of my hands.” — With his team all but eliminated from the NHL playoffs, Senators centre Jason Spezza discusses his chances of making the Canadian team for the world championships.

THE SICK BAY: Senators — G Pascal Leclaire (lower body, indefinite), RW Daniel Alfredsson (back, indefinite), C/W Peter Regin (shoulder, out for season), LW Milan Michalek (lower body, indefinite), D Matt Carkner (knee, 2-4 weeks), G Craig Anderson (undisclosed, questionable).

THE PREDICTION: I know I made this argument the last time these two teams played, but this game is so much more important to Jersey. The Devils probably should have won the last time out, and I think they’ll actually pull it off this time. Senators 0, Devils 4.  (See who the rest of our prediction panel likes in this one by clicking here)

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