Devils to face reeling Senators

OTTAWA — The New Jersey Devils will be riding a high when they visit the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night.

The Senators, meanwhile, have landed in some more mud.

When they arrive at the rink for the morning skate, Ottawa players will face questions from reporters on the latest off-ice controversy surrounding the club – video of a group of them badmouthing one of their coaches that was taken with a hidden camera and placed on social media by an Uber driver.

At least it will take some of the focus away from a plunge that has seen the Senators (5-6-3) lose six of their last seven games, primarily because of horrible defensive play. After a decent start, they now lead the league in most goals against (59) and average shots against per game (39.1).

And not all of that would be on coaching.

“It has been a few too many years here where the players haven’t taken ownership,” veteran defenseman Mark Borowiecki told Postmedia after the players-only meeting that followed Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We were talking about it when the going was good early in the year and things were kind of buzzing a little bit, and we had all that positive energy and we had that nice stuff, but we’re going through a rough patch here, where it’s a true test of our personalities.”

On the other hand, the Devils (6-5-1) were writing a feel-good story Monday in Pittsburgh with a 5-1 victory on Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. Scoring a natural hat trick and the first three goal performance of his 12-year career was Brian Boyle, who last month announced he was in remission from the chronic myelogenous leukemia he was diagnosed with in 2017.

“I love these nights, I really do,” Boyle told reporters, per NHL.com. “Sometimes you feel kind of alone … it can be a dark place at times, during a cancer fight. I remember fighting it a little bit and I’m not feeling great. The worst part of it was people feel sorry for you. They don’t know what to say. You want them to feel comfortable around you.

“That was a lot of fun. That was fun for us,” he added. It was good for us tonight. to bury a couple was nice.”

It was the first victory as visitors for the Devils, who are now 1-3 during a season-long seven game road trip.

The Senators are expected to go with Craig Anderson in goal. The 37-year old Anderson has appeared in 11 straight games, starting 10 of them. He leads the league in shots against (475) and saves (432) and goals against (43).

Anderson is 10-3-2 all-time against the Devils, with a .935 save percentage and 2.35 goals against average.

After Keith Kinkaid stopped 35 of 35 Pittsburgh shots on Monday, the Devils are expected to give Cory Schneider his third start of the season.

Schneider has a career 6-3-1 record against the Senators that includes a .934 save percentage and 1.94 goals against average.