Cory Schneider made 30 saves in posting his first shutout since November 2017 and New Jersey Devils beat the undermanned Ottawa Senators 4-0 on Thursday night in a game in which both teams gave indications they were getting ready to make trades in the next few days.
Travis Zajac, Steven Santini, Kurtis Gabriel and Miles Wood scored for the Devils, who won for the third time in four games.
Anders Nilsson had 27 saves for the Senators, whose 22-33-5 record is the worst in the NHL this season.
Ottawa clearly intends to deal before Monday’s trading deadline. Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, the Senators’ first, second- and fourth-leading scorers, were all healthy scratches. Trade rumors have swirled about the forwards in recent weeks, and this was another sign the future free agents would be dealt.
The Devils scratched forward Marcus Johansson and veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy. Johansson has been rumored to be on the trading block, while Lovejoy has played for a Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh.
Ottawa looked horrible without its top players for most of the first two periods and trailed 4-0 before they really started to play.
Zajac gave the Devils the lead at 11:45, deflecting a shot by Wood past Nilsson. Santini got his first of the season less than three minutes later when Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot had a skate problem that prevented Ottawa from clearing its zone.
Santini was in the lineup because Lovejoy was scratched.
Gabriel got his first NHL goal at 3:40 of the second period after Brett Seney won a faceoff. Wood scored with 5:08 left in the period, re-directing a Damon Severson pass into the net.
The only question after that was whether Schneider would win his third straight and get his shutout. He got a little help late in the second period when a shot by Filip Chlapik — who was called up from the minors for the game — hit off the crossbar.
Schneider also made an excellent stop on Jean-Gabriel Pageau late in the second and magnificent skate stop on Marnus Paajarvi early in the third.
NOTES: The Senators also recalled F Darren Archibald from Belleville (AHL) before the game. … Ottawa dressed seven defenseman, with Cody Goloubef getting some shifts. … New Jersey was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, with Bratt hitting the post late in the game.
Senators: Return home to face Columbus on Friday night.
Devils: Cross the Hudson River to play the Rangers on Saturday.