The Devils scored the game's first three goals and cruised from
there, emerging with a 5-2 victory at the Prudential Center in a
battle between two teams in pursuit of a playoff spot in the Eastern
Devils right winger Jaromir Jagr scored the deciding goal early in
the second period, the NHL record 122nd of his career that broke a
tie with Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe.
On the other end of the spectrum was Devils rookie Reid Boucher, who
scored the first goal of his career late in the first period.
Boucher, a prolific scorer at the junior level, had gone six NHL
games without scoring a goal before Wednesday.
"It was a relief to finally get it out of the way," Boucher said. "I
felt like I was close and that I was getting the chances.
Fortunately, I was able to get that one to go into the net."
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur was able to make the lead hold up.
He made 23 saves to give the Devils consecutive wins for the first
time since the final weekend of November and push the team to within
one point of a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Brodeur delivered a great joke afterward, commenting on winger
Damien Brunner's highlight-reel goal at the end of the second
period. It was Brunner's fourth goal in four games and came on the
heels of sitting as a healthy scratch as he struggled to produce.
"He does everything. It's pretty impressive," said Brodeur before
commenting on the Devils organization's penchant for slowing things
down offensively. "I'm happy for him that he's getting back to what
everybody thought he was from last year.
"We always shut down offensive players here in New Jersey, so we
almost got him. We almost he had him. Now he's back."
For the Senators, the loss resulted in a team meeting after the game
that featured coaches and management in a heated discussion about
the team's poor performance. It came two nights after the Senators
earned a 3-2 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues, one of the
NHL's top teams.
With a playoff spot almost within reach, the Senators followed it
with a dismal showing.
"It was for the most part a message from the top of expectations
from them and what we should be expecting of each other," Senators
defenseman and alternate captain Chris Phillips said. "It was a good
"I'm not here to make excuses," Senators center and captain Jason
Spezza said. "We just haven't been able to follow it up. Some nights
we do it great and we look like a heck of a team. Unfortunately, for
a majority of the nights, we haven't done it well enough."
[to top of second column]
A pair of calls that could have gone in the Senators' favor
did not, resulting in a pair of goals. Devils right winger
Michael Ryder appeared to trip Senators defenseman Joe Corvo,
which led to the breakout that resulted in Boucher's goal.
On Brunner's goal, Senators defenseman Jared Cowen had the stick
knocked from his hands as they fought for the puck. Brunner
corralled the puck and beat goaltender Robin Lehner, but the
Senators believed a slash should have been called on Brunner.
"We can complain and say the referees gave them two goals on
non-calls, which we can argue about," Senators coach Paul
MacLean said. "It's only a penalty when he puts his arm up, but
in lots of games this season those have been called, especially
when the team gains an advantage like they did and scored two
goals, both goals give them two-goal leads in the game.
"It could be a real different game if those calls are made, but
the referee sees it a different way than we do. But for the most
part our effort in the game was not even close to good enough to
win and we can't be begging the referees and we can't be begging
the league to say they're doing us wrong. We're doing us wrong."
The Senators have a chance to turn things around immediately
with a road game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. But
it will be no easy task, as the Panthers have won four straight
and six of seven and will be a rested club when the teams take
"We're playing a good Florida team tomorrow that's sitting at
home waiting for us," Spezza said. "We know it's going to be a
tough one and we're going to need an answer after this one. So
hopefully we can bring it tomorrow."
NOTES: Senators D Marc Methot was eligible to return to the
lineup after serving a three-game suspension, but coach Paul
MacLean decided to make him a healthy scratch. Methot is second
on the team in ice time at 21:28 per game. ... Devils RW Jaromir
Jagr is now one goal behind Mark Messier for seventh on the
all-time list. Messier had 694 in his career. ... With C Stephen
Gionta back from injury and C Andrei Loktionov back in the
lineup, Devils coach Peter DeBoer made C Jacob Josefson and LW
Tim Sestito healthy scratches.
[© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.