By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs Sunday as they matched their season-worst five game winless streak with a 2-1 loss to Anaheim at Prudential Center.
Sunday night’s loss was just the fourth all-time by the Devils at home against the Ducks in 13 regular season games in New Jersey:
· 3/29/15, Anaheim 2 at NJD 1, Gibson 26 saves
· 12/20/13 Anaheim 3 at NJD 2 (OT), Palmieri goal
· 2/8/08 Anaheim 2 at NJD 1, Ryan Carter 2 goals
· 2/11/96 Anaheim 4 at NJD 2, Kariya, Selanne 1 goal and 1 assist each
New Jersey won all four games against Anaheim at the Meadowlands in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, so the Devils all-time record against the Ducks on home ice is now 13-3-1.
New Jersey lost, 3-1, to the Hurricanes Saturday night in Raleigh. Eric Staal ended his 24-game goal drought against the Devils when he scored the game-winning goal in the 3-1 Carolina victory.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, entering play on Saturday, Staal had scored only four goals in his 42 career regular-season games against the Devils and none since March 18, 2009.
Staal did however score five goals, including the series clincher in Game 7, for Carolina against New Jersey in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in April 2009 and scored three times in the Hurricanes’ five game series win over the Devils in the Eastern Conference semifinals in May of 2006.
Only five players have scored more career playoff goals against New Jersey than Eric Staal:
· Mark Recchi 12
· Jaromir Jagr 11
· Martin Straka 9
· Dino Cicarelli 9
· Mark Messier 9
Keith Kinkaid made the start in goal vs. Carolina and fell to 5-5-3 on the season. Here is where Kinkaid’s five wins rank all-time among rookies in a single season for New Jersey:
· Martin Brodeur 1993-94, 27
· Sean Burke* 1988-89, 22
· Alain Chevrier 1985-86, 11
· Sean Burke* 1987-88, 10
· Mike Dunham 1996-97, 8
· Keith Kinkaid 2014-15, 5
· Craig Billington 1985-86, 4
(*Sean Burke maintained his rookie status having appeared in just 13 regular season games in 1987-88.)
The Devils lost to the Capitals, 3-2, in overtime last Thursday night in Washington, D.C. New Jersey had lost just once before in either overtime or shootout on the road in club history against the Capitals, winning five times in OT, four in the shootout and having four other games end in a tie.
The only previous overtime loss for the Devils on the road against the Capitals was back on March 7, 1992, a 3-2 defeat at the Cap Centre in Landover, Maryland. Dale Hunter scored the game-winner, beating Chris Terreri at 2:49 of overtime.
The Kings beat the Devils, 3-1, last Monday night at Prudential Center and followed up that victory with a pair of road wins against the Rangers and Islanders later in the week.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third time that the Kings defeated the Devils, Rangers and Islanders (in any order) on one road trip. They also pulled off the New York-New Jersey three-game sweep in January 2002 and November 2013. All other NHL teams combined have done that only twice: the Predators in October 2006 and the Ducks in February 2008.
Anze Kopitar recorded one goal and two assists in the Kings victory over the Devils. 11 opposing players have had a three-point game or better against New Jersey this season:
· 12/20/14 Nicklas Backstrom, Was 2G 2A
· 3/23/15 Anze Kopitar, LA 1G 2A
· 2/7/15 P.K. Subban, Mtl 0G 3A
· 2/7/15 David Desharnais, Mtl 0G 3A
· 1/9/15 John Tavares, NYI 2G 1A
· 1/2/15 P.K. Subban, Mtl 0G 3A
· 12/27/14 Derek Stepan, NYR 3G 0A
· 11/10/14 Patrice Bergeron, Bos 1G 2A
· 10/18/14 Joe Pavelski, SJ 1G 2A
· 10/18/14 Logan Couture, SJ 1G 2A
· 10/9/14 Wayne Simmonds, Phi 2G 1A
Plus: Great Scott. Scott Gomez played in his 600th game with the Devils Sunday night, becoming the 15th player (ninth forward) to do so.
Minus: Not So Great. Devils had made the playoffs every season Gomez was with New Jersey, from 2000 through 2007, although Gomez did miss the 2002 post-season with a broken hand.