By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils’ slim playoff hopes got even slimmer after suffering three more shootout defeats in their last four games.
The Devils had avoided any shootouts since the Olympic break, but lost in the tiebreaker to both the Coyotes and Islanders last week and to the Sabres on Tuesday night.
New Jersey fell to 0-11 in the shootout this season and extended its NHL-record losing streak to 15, dating back to March 15, 2013 at Philadelphia.
The Devils are in danger of leading the NHL in shootout losses for the second consecutive season after going 2-7 in the 48-game lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
New Jersey is now the 11th team to lose 10-or-more shootouts in a single season since the tiebreaker was introduced in 2005-06:
Most NHL Shootout Losses In A Single Season:
• 2011-12: Montreal* 12
• 2013-14: New Jersey 11
• 2011-12: Florida 11
• 2006-07: Washington* 11
• 2006-07: Anaheim 10
• 2008-09: Tampa Bay* 10
• 2009-10: Florida* 10
• 2009-10: Dallas* 10
• 2009-10: Columbus* 10
• 2011-12: Phoenix 10
• 2011-12: St. Louis 10
• 2013-14: Washington 10
(* — Missed playoffs)
Travis Zajac recorded his first career hat trick in New Jersey’s 6-3 victory against Florida on Monday night at Prudential Center. The hat trick was the 69th in Devils history, and first since March 8, 2012 (Ilya Kovalchuk vs. the New York Islanders). It was also the first by a Devils player against the Panthers.
Zajac scored 0:12 into the contest, the Devils’ fastest goal to start a game this season, topping Adam Henrique’s 0:27 mark back on March 4 vs. Detroit.
Zajac’s first goal was the third-fastest to begin a home game in team history. Kirk Muller scored 0:08 into the game on December 13, 1988 in a 4-3 win vs. St. Louis. Jamie Langenbrunner scored at 0:10 on November 2, 2002 in a 5-1 victory over Chicago
Ryane Clowe had a season-high three-point game (1g-2a) for his fifth multiple-point game of the season in the Devils’ win over the Panthers and now has 13 points (4g-9a) over his last 16 games. Clowe left the game in the second period and did not return.
Clowe leads New Jersey with five fighting majors. According to Hockeyfights.com, the Devils have had just 10 fighting majors this season, the third-lowest total in the NHL behind Carolina (eight) and Detroit (seven) through the games of April 1.
New Jersey had just 16 fighting majors in the 48-game season of 2012-13, the fewest in club history. The 91 fighting majors by the 1997-98 Devils are the club’s most since moving to New Jersey for the 1982-83 season.
Devils’ Most Fighting Majors In A Single Season:
• 1997-98: 91, Krzysztof Oliwa (34)
• 1988-89: 87, David Maley (20)
• 1986-87: 83, Perry Anderson & Claude Loiselle (10)
• 1990-91: 82, Alan Stewart (20)
• 1995-96: 80, Mike Peluso (18)
Devils’ Fewest Fighting Majors In A Single Season:
• 2013-14: 10, Ryane Clowe (5)
• 2012-13: 16, Krys Barch & David Clarkson (6)
• 2005-06: 24, Cam Janssen (11)
• 2006-07: 32, Cam Janssen (16)
• 2003-04: 35, Turner Stevenson (8)
Plus: Shootout Scores — Jacob Josefson and Jaromir Jagr both scored in the shootout loss to Buffalo, joining Reid Boucher as the only Devils to score in the shootout this season.
Minus: Shootout Misses — Marek Zidlicky, Zajac, Tuomo Ruutu, Patrik Elias and Henrique all came up empty with chances to give New Jersey its first shootout win of the season.
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