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Arnott frustrated by missed chances

Thursday, 12.30.2010 / 4:37 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Arnott frustrated by missed chances
In a game decided by an unfortunate bounce, Jason Arnott's lack of luck summed up the frustration levels after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Rangers.

Arnott had two looks at open nets from the doorstep, but couldn’t put home either one. After practice on Thursday, he spoke positively of building off of what went right.

“I think we realize we’re getting more and more on the right track, we just have to bury our chances where we can,” Arnott said. "It was a much better game than we’ve played all year, I think.

"The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but the effort certainly was there and we’re doing things better and better. Those are the positives. We’re still frustrated and not happy with our situation, but if you’re going to take a positive, that would be it.”

With about a minute left in the first, Arnott’s bid for a sure goal was deflected away by the stick of Artem Anisimov. On a Devils power play with 2:18 left in regulation, Arnott was denied by the crossbar.

He was that close to notching what easily could have been a two-goal game and a Devils victory. They outshot the Rangers 44-26, but were undone by Michal Rozsival’s goal off of Andy Greene.

Since his first day back as head coach on Dec. 23, Jacques Lemaire has emphasized the importance of restoring player confidence. A fortunate carom right now could go a long way. So, too, could a win.

“A win right now would really put us in a better mental state,” Arnott said. “It’s tough when you work that hard last night, and you come out with a loss. It’s tough mentally to accept that, but that’s what it’s going to take to get us out of this is that type of work, so we can’t let down on that. It could take a lucky goal, it could take anything, and it’s up to each individual to get his confidence back.”

Arnott leads the Devils with nine goals, but hasn’t scored since Dec. 2.

“It’s a frustrating feeling,” he said. “You get in front of the net, you just try and relax and put it in the empty net, it just doesn’t go in. But you can’t let up. You have to keep trying, you have to keep doing it. Keep putting pucks to the net, and hopefully, they’ll go in. But the minute we let down, that’s the minute we start playing bad and teams take it to us. So we have to keep pushing forward, keep working like we did last night.”

Atlanta visits the Rock for a 5 p.m. start on New Year’s Eve. It’s the last chance the Devils have to avoid ending 2010 on a sour note. These days, the Devils' next opponent is less of a concern than their own performance. They’re looking inward now, trying to bring their best against whoever’s at the other end of the ice.

“Absolutely,” said Arnott. “It doesn’t matter who we play now. We have to keep tight in our dressing room and play within ourselves. That’s the only way we can look at it now.”