By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils ended the 2014-15 season on a sour note, going just 1-7-3 over their last 11 games to finish with 78 points, their fewest in a season of 80-or-more games since 1988-89, when they had just 66.
The Devils lost their season finale, 3-2, to the Florida Panthers Saturday night. Jaromir Jagr, playing his first game against the Devils since they traded him to the Panthers on February 26th, scored the deciding goal for Florida.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jagr is the first player to score a game-winning goal against the Devils after playing for them in the same season, and he is only the second ex-Devil to register a game-winner against New Jersey in the last six seasons.
Elias notes that the last was Matt D'Agostini, who had a 13-game stint with New Jersey in 2012-13. He scored the game-winner for Buffalo in a 2-1 victory against the Devils the following season on January 4, 2014.
Jagr joined eight other players who scored goals both for and against New Jersey in the same season over the past 20 years:
· 2014-15: Jaromir Jagr, NJD/Fla
· 2013-14: Tuomo Ruutu, Car/NJD
· 2011-12: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Car/NJD
· 2009-10: Ilya Kovalchuk, Atl/NJD
· 1999-00: Alexander Mogilny, Van/NJD
· 1999-00: Brian Rolston, NJD/Col
· 1998-99: Sergei Nemchinov, NYI/NJD
· 1996-97: Doug Gilmour, Tor/NJD
· 1995-96: Dave Andreychuk, Tor/NJD
Jagr, who re-signed with Florida on Sunday, scored six goals in his 20 games with the Florida Panthers, giving him the fourth most by a former Devil in 2014-15:
· Zach Parise: Min, 33
· Brian Gionta: Buf, 13
· David Clarkson: Tor/Cbj, 10
· Jaromir Jagr: Fla, 6
· Marek Zidlicky: Det, 3
· Paul Martin: Pit, 3
· Ryan Carter: Min, 3
· Willie Mitchell: Fla, 3
· Matt Halischuk: Wpg, 3
· Johnny Oduya: Chi, 2
· Mark Fayne: Edm, 2
· Eric Boulton: NYI, 2
New Jersey lost to Tampa Bay, 4-3, in overtime last Thursday night. The Devils fell to 1-7 in games decided in overtime in 2014-15, matching their all-time worst record in regular season sudden-death games, set back in 1983-84 when they also went 1-7.
The Devils went 5-7 in shootouts this season, giving them a 6-14 overall record in games decided after regulation.
Here are the Devils all-time worst regular-season records in games decided after 60 minutes:
Season G W L T OL W-L %
· 1983-84 15 1 7 7 0 .300
· 2012-13 13 3 0 0 10 .410
· 1988-89 17 1 4 12 0 .412
· 1984-85 12 0 2 10 0 .417
· 2014-15 20 6 0 0 14 .433
New Jersey's overtime loss was its fourth all time in the regular season against the Lightning:
· 4/9/15: NJD 3 at TB 4, Tyler Johnson
· 1/26/06: NJD 0 at TB 1, Ruslan Fedotenko
· 3/5/04: NJD 2 at TB 3, Dave Andreychuk
· 1/15/02: TB 5 at NJD 4, Zdeno Ciger
The Devils lost to the Rangers, 4-2, in their final home game of the season last Tuesday night at Prudential Center. New Jersey finished with a 19-14-8 record with 46 points at home, their worst in a full 82-game season since 1998-99, when they also were 19-14-8 with 46 points at the Meadowlands.
It wasn't impossible. Back on February 3, the Devils defeated the Ottawa Senators, 2-1. With the win, New Jersey (20-22-9) and Ottawa (20-20-9) were tied with 49 points, 12 behind Boston for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Devils went 12-14-5 over their final 31 games, while the Senators went 23-6-4 over their last 33 to make the postseason.
The Devils were 12-17-7 (a .431 points percentage) when Pete DeBoer was relieved of his coaching duties on December 26. New Jersey went 20-19-7 (a .511 points percentage) the rest of the way under Lou Lamoriello and assistant coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.
Plus: 7.5 Percent -- New Jersey finished with the sixth-worst record in the NHL, giving them a 7.5 percent chance to win the first overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The Devils won the draft lottery in 2011, moving up from eighth to fourth. (The maximum any team could move up was four spots under the old rules.) They selected Adam Larsson.
Minus: Outside Looking In -- The Devils missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in five years, their worst stretch since missing the postseason in six of their first seven seasons in New Jersey, from 1982-83 through 1988-89.
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