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Devils-Senators: Sunday Showdown

levinaklCorrespondent IIIJanuary 4, 2009

The New Jersey Devils host the Ottawa Senators Sunday afternoon at the Prudential Center.  For the Devils and Senators, it will be the second of four match-ups for the season. 

The first took place also at the Prudential Center on Dec. 19th, when the Devils defeated Ottawa 5-1.  It was a great game for the Devils, a game where Patrik Elias led the way with two goals, and Scott Clemmensen played very solid in net for New Jersey.

I would strongly expect Scott Clemmensen to start his 11th straight in net, his 18th out of the last 19 overall.  I don't think anyone could've guessed that Clemmensen would fill the void of injured goaltender Martin Brodeur nearly as well as he has. 

Had you thought Clemmensen would be 14-6-1 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in his 22 games (21 starts), then perhaps you should be on your way to Vegas to build upon your knowledge. 

Amazingly, Clemmensen has played to the point that he is in the talk for possibly being named to the All-Star team to represent the Eastern Conference in the upcoming event in Montreal.

As for today's game, the Devils enter the fray having won three of their last four games overall, and are looking to move into a tie with the New York Rangers at 49 points, which is good for second place in the Atlantic Division, and would put the Devils just one behind the first place Philadelphia Flyers.  Keep in mind, the Devils have two games in hand on Philadelphia, and three on the Rangers. 

After struggling to their fourth straight loss in Washington on Nov. 14th to the Capitals, the Devils stood at just 7-7-2 on the season, and were in the middle of an injury breakout amongst their team.  However, since that loss, the Devils have played very well,  having posted a 15-6-1 record in their last 22 games.  They enter today's game against Ottawa having averaged 3.23 goals scored per game in those same 22 games, while yielding only 2.32 per game.

Patrik Elias leads the way with 12 goals, while soon to be All-Star Zach Parise has added 10 in those same 22 games. 

As for Ottawa, they currently are in the middle of an eight game road trip, which has started 1-4.  It is fair to say that Ottawa has been a great disappointment thus far this year, residing currently in the basement of the Northeast Division. 

Alex Auld and Martin Gerber have been okay sharing the goaltending duties, but neither has stood out. 

The normal big three of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Danny Heatley have stood out offensively as they normally do, but no other Senator has more than five goals on the year, and as such, the Senators have the lowest goal scoring total in the league with only 84 in 36 games. 

For comparative purposes, the next lowest scoring team is the Tampa Bay Lightning, with 91 goals in 38 games.

If the Devils come out and play their game, you should expect a similar result to the one the Devils had against Montreal Friday night.  If the Devils come out flat, it could open the chance for Ottawa to sneak themselves into the game and possibly steal one. However, I fully expect the Devils to come out, play their game, and get another victory.

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