(SportsNetwork.com) – For the second time in recent years, the Ottawa Senators
watched as hockey took a back seat in response to a national tragedy.
The Senators return from a lengthy layoff caused by recent violence in Canada
to host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Ottawa has won four straight games since opening the season with a loss to
Nashville on Oct. 9, but has not played since beating Columbus 3-2 last
Saturday. Their home contest against Toronto on Wednesday was postponed due to
a shooting in downtown Ottawa.
Earlier in the day, a gunman shot and killed a Canadian solider standing guard
at the National War Memorial, then entered Parliament before being shot to
On Monday, a solider was killed as a man drove into him with a car at a
building near Montreal.
Prior to tonight’s contest, the Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple
Leafs will all stage a coordinated tribute prior to starting their respective
“As we continue to reflect on the tragic circumstances surrounding the deaths
of two our country’s soldiers on Canadian soil, we do so with heavy hearts”
said Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in a statement on his team’s website.
“But what doesn’t break us, makes us stronger. Today our country stands more
united than ever and so does the entire NHL family. We are very pleased to
join forces with the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs in
coordinating a unique and special tribute prior our game on Saturday in honour
and recognition of these two brave soldiers, their families and all members of
our Canadian military.”
This is the second time in less than three years that the Senators have had a
game postponed due to tragedy. They had an April 15, 2012 contest with the
Boston Bruins postponed because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. It was
made up two weeks later to cap the season.
Ottawa, which has given up only seven goals over its winning streak, will cap
what is now a three-game homestand before visiting the Chicago Blackhawks on
The Senators have won five of six and eight of their last 12 versus the Devils
overall as well as three straight and seven of the past eight at home.
The Devils, meanwhile, wrap up games on consecutive nights as they dropped a
3-2 shootout decision to the visiting Dallas Stars on Friday. The outcome
extended New Jersey’s NHL record losing streak in shootouts to 18 straight.
Cory Schneider made 35 saves, but failed to stop both Jason Spezza and Jamie
Benn in the tiebreaker.
Damien Brunner and Eric Gelinas lit the lamp for New Jersey, which went
winless on a three-game homestand and has dropped four in a row overall
(0-2-2) after opening the season with three straight wins.
“We really felt we needed two points here to end the three-game homestand,”
said Schneider. “Overall, not too happy with just the one (point).”
The Devils could have forward Martin Havlat back in the lineup tonight. He has
not played since suffering facial lacerations on Oct. 16.