Out of all the Devils losses, number 19 will sting the most.
The Devils, thinking they tied the game, lost a video review and lost their seventh straight road game, 3-2, to the Ottawa Senators tonight at Scotiabank Place.
David Clarkson appeared to tie the game at three with a powerplay goal at 16:24 of the final period. With Mike Fisher in the box for interference, the Devils held the puck below the goal line. Mattias Tedenby crashed the net, putting a shot on Pascal Leclaire. A scrum ensued, and the puck trickled to an open area in the crease. Clarkson skated toward the net, and the puck deflected off the front of his skate and into the open net.
Immediately after he scored, referee Brad Watson waved off the goal. Watson said Clarkson kicked the puck in the net, and NHL officials in Toronto upheld Watson's ruling.
"We ruled the puck was propelled into the net with a distinct kicking motion," NHL senior VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. "We also looked to see if the puck was touched by Clarkson's stick which it was not."
Clarkson didn't agree.
"I guess it went off my skate, which it did, but I thought it had to be a kicking motion," the Devils' right-winger said. "So, I guess (referee Brad Watson) said the NHL reviewed it and made that call because it did go off my skate when I shot it."
"I didn't think it was a kicking motion," Devils coach John MacLean said. "It's frustrating. I thought it would have been a big goal there to get another one on the power play and tie it up, but unfortunately it didn't happen."
Jarkko Ruutu scored the game-winning goal for the Senators in the second period of play. With his team ahead, 2-1, Ruutu battled for a loose puck near the side of the Devils net. The forward gained possession of the puck and fired an odd angle shot on Martin Brodeur. The puck deflected off the arm of the Devils' goalie and into the net for Ruutu's second goal of the season.
The Senators opened the scoring, with Erik Karlsson putting Ottawa ahead, 1-0, at 15:30 of the first period. A breakout pass for Ilya Kovalchuk missed his stick, and Karlsson held the puck at the Devils' blue line. The defenseman shot the puck through a crowd of players and past Brodeur for his fifth goal of the year.
Patrik Elias tied the game with a powerplay goal at 4:46 of the second period. Brodeur began the play, slowing the puck down in his own zone and passing it to Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils' left-winger fowarded a pass to Elias, who carried the puck into the offensive zone. The left-winger put a wrist shot on net that Leclaire couldn't handle. The puck bounced over his glove and into the Senators' net for his fifth goal of the season.
Milan Michalek put the Senators back on top, 2-1, at 9:39 of the period. The Senators won a faceoff and set up along the Devils' blue line. Chris Phillips passed the puck to Erik Karlsson, who shot the puck toward the net. A Devils' defender blocked the puck down in the slot, where Michalek gained control. He backhanded a shot past an unsuspecting Brodeur for his sixth goal of the year.
Down 3-1, the Devils scored their second powerplay goal to pull within 3-2. With Sergei Gonchar in the penalty box for holding, Kovalchuk controlled the puck near his blue line. He sent a pass to Jamie Langenbrunner, who skated it along the side boards. Dainius Zubrus found an opening in the slot, and Langenbrunner found him with a pass. Zubrus one-timed the puck over Leclaire's glove for his fourth goal of the season.
But none of the Devils' success mattered. With the disallowed goal, the team moved one step closer to irrelevancy. Clarkson summed up the feeling in the locker room.
"That’s just the way it’s been for us this year," Clarkson said. "We can’t get a break."
Brodeur recorded his 35th career assist on the Devils first powerplay goal...Tonight was only Kovalchuk's fourth multi-point game of the season and the first since November 3.