Gilles Senn stopped 35 of 38 shots in his first career NHL start but Devils fell to the Blue Jackets on Saturday night in Columbus
COLUMBUS, OH -Gilles Senn's NHL starting debut didn't start the way he wanted, with a goal 26 seconds in but the Devils rookie goaltender held his own, stopping 35 of 38 shots. Offensively, the Devils were only able to generate one goal, that by Will Butcher, in a 5-1 loss that included two late shorthanded empty-net goals for the home side.
The Devils continue their road trip with their final game before the holiday break on Monday in Chicago. The game can be seen on MSG+ 2 and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 8:38 p.m. ET.
"I'm happy it's over now. Of course you want to win your first start. I didn't start the game the way I wanted to, I wasn't quite ready. But I came back into the game to make some good saves," said Senn, adding that he's still adapting to the North American style of game and ice surface.
"You see it on the first goal. It's something I have to work on. It's not easy but I'm here to learn and make progress."
Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine was very impressed with the play of his netminder.
"I'll give him credit. First shot went in and then I thought he settled in and made some pretty good saves and felt more comfortable as the game went on. I thought he did a pretty good job for us," Nasreddine stated.
Only 26 seconds into the game, the the Blue Jackets struck for the game's first goal. Oliver Bjorkstrand one-timed a blast from the high slot that beat Senn five-hole.
Several minutes after the Blue Jackets goal, Jakob Lilja received two minutes for hooking to give the Devils the game's first power play.
Devils were unable to score but a minute after Lilja came out of the box, they took another penalty, this one for too many men.
After the Blue Jackets penalty expired, Senn made an excellent breakaway save but five seconds later, the puck found its way back to the high slot and Bjorkstrand wound up and fired a wrister from above the hashmarks glove side to make it a 2-0 game.
New Jersey got a goal back with 4:32 to go in the first. Will Butcher's top shelf wrist shot eluded Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo for a four-on-four goal to make it a one-goal deficit.
Nasreddine added that he didn't feel that the team was on the offensive enough.
"We don't have an attacking mentality enough. Passing up shots," he noted. "Give them credit, they defending well. We have to be able to go to the hard areas. Tonight, some guys had it and other guys didn't we just didn't generate enough."
After one, shots on goal were 11-8 for the Blue Jackets.
The majority of the second period involved the teams feeling each other out a little but as the period went on, the Blue Jackets started to gain some momentum. Eight minutes into the second, shots on goal were 6-1 for Columbus.
With 6:47 to go in the middle frame, Vladislav Gavrikov let a wrist shot go from the high slot that beat Senn blocker side to put the home side up by two.
John Hayden was called for high sticking with 1:10 to go. It was the first power play of the game for Columbus.
Shots on goal in the second were 14-9 for the Blue Jackets; 25-17 for Columbus overall in the game.
Senn made a couple of big stops as Devils killed off the minor to start the period.
"I thought he really settled in there," said Devils captain Andy Greene. "We didn't have the best start but I thought he got comfortable as the game went on. He made a couple huge saves there when the game was in the balance at 3-1. I'm proud of the way he settled in there."
New Jersey then took back-to-back penalties, resulting in having to kill nearly six minutes following penalties to Zajac and Palmieri, the latter getting two for tripping and two for unsportsmanlike.
The best chance the Devils had to score in the final frame came midway through as Coleman broke through the Blue Jackets defense to create a partial breakaway for himself. As he was falling to the ice, he managed to attempt a five-hole backhand but was denied by Korpisalo.
Devils had a chance to make things interesting with a power play with less than three minutes to play and pulled their goaltender but eight seconds into the man advantage, Zach Werenski fired the puck 200 feet into the open cage from behind his own net.
Columbus added another shorthanded empty netter with 1:12 to go in the game.