Devils, Kings look to get back on track after lackluster efforts

Devils, Kings look to get back on track after lackluster efforts

The New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings experienced disappointing results in different ways Tuesday night.But the urgency of a playoff race doesn’t allow either team much time to lament what could have been.The Devils and Kings will each be looking to bounce back Thursday night, when New Jersey hosts Los Angeles in a battle of postseason contenders in Newark, N.J.Both teams had brief winning streaks halted Tuesday night. The Devils never led in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Montreal Canadiens while the Kings opened a five-game road trip by falling 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild.With his team dealing with a challenging yet routine set of late-season challenges, New Jersey head coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t surprised to see the Devils performing at something less than their best Tuesday. New Jersey, which won its previous two games by a combined margin of 9-4, outshot the Canadiens 40-18 but couldn’t recover from Montreal scoring a pair of goals in a 73-second span early in the middle period.New Jersey played five games in a nine-day span that ended Sunday, when the Devils beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 in Newark a little more than 24 hours after completing a four-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils are also dealing with an illness running through the locker room as well as the absence of goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, who was injured during the morning skate Tuesday.”We gave up an abnormal amount of good chances,” Ruff said. “It just looked like fatigue. It looked like the team was flat this morning. We played a lot of hockey. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses.””We’ve had a couple of guys that have played through illness. We need to freshen the team up and focus on the next game.”


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