Devils 5, Senators 1 (F)
With 10 goals in their last two games, the Devils have had plenty to celebrate.
It was snowing Friday in Newark, but it inside Prudential Center it was raining goals, courtesy of Patrik Elias
and Zach Parise
Elias and Parise each had four points, and four different Devils finished with multi-point games as the Devils coasted to a 5-1 win over the slumping Ottawa Senators.
Elias had two power play goals and two assists, and Parise registered a career-high four assists for the second time in five games. New Jersey scored five goals for a second straight game, both wins.
had a goal and an assist, and Paul Martin added two helpers. A revived Devils power play connected for three goals in one game for the first time since last January.
Brian Gionta and Johnny Oduya also scored for New Jersey.
Scott Clemmensen delivered yet another strong performance, stopping 24 of 25 shots for his 10th win in his last 12 starts.
The only blemish on Clemmensen's evening was Jarkko Ruutu's shorthanded tally that brought Ottawa within a goal, 2-1, in the second period.
Elias and Zajac would then combine for three unanswered goals to send the Senators to their ninth straight loss on the road.
New Jersey (18-9-3) improved to 11-2-1 in its last 14 games.
As Elias and Parise have continued their torrid scoring pace, the Devils have continued to climb in the standings. Friday's win tied New Jersey with Montreal for fifth place in the Eastern Conference and moved them within one point of idle Philadelphia for second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Devils host the Flyers Sunday for a 1 p.m. matinee.
Elias extended his club season-high points streak to nine games (7g-9a), and has points in 14 of his last 15 contests. Parise, who leads New Jersey in goals (18) and points (39), has a point in 14 of his last 18.
Elias owns the second-longest active streak in the NHL, second to Boston's Phil Kessel, who has points in 16 straight.
Head coach Brent Sutter's squad has made a recent habit of taking early leads, having scored in the opening two minutes against Toronto and Buffalo earlier this week. They got on the board early once again on Friday.
With New Jersey dominating the first shift of the contest, Gionta got his ninth to make it 1-0 Devils just 40 seconds in. Elias passed from the right circle for Martin at the point, and Gionta tipped Martin's shot at the left hash marks through goaltender Alex Auld.
"It's obviously big when you score first in a game and score early like that," Sutter said. "Some nights there's the odd time it backfires on you, too. Where the early goal seems like it affects you some nights, and gets you away from your game. But we have scored early in games and we've done a good job for the most part keeping that going. It's big whenever you score a first goal."
The Devils later capitalized on the power play for a third straight game, as Oduya scored his second goal in eight games to pad New Jersey's lead to two.
Elias dished from the right half boards to Parise at the right of the net, then cut toward the slot as a decoy while Oduya broke in from the blueline.
Parise, who recorded his 100th career assist on the play, delivered a backdoor cross-slot pass for Oduya's tap-in from the bottom of the left circle at 14:28. Just one second remained on Jason Spezza's minor for goaltender interference.
"I think first and foremost, we want Johnny to be a really responsible defenseman," Sutter said. "When the offense arises and is there for him, fine. It's not something, as coaches, we look for first and foremost out of Johnny. He's been a solid defenseman in our zone and reads situations offensively. He's done a good job with that."
Ottawa recovered to get on the board in the middle frame.
The Devils coughed up their first shorthanded goal of the year when Ruutu and Steve Kelly combined on a 2-on-1 against Martin to make it 2-1 at 8:37 of the second period.
But Elias then gave New Jersey its first of three straight goals to restore a two-goal cushion with 54 seconds left in the period. Zajac was able to get a stick on Parise's wrister from the right circle, and Elias buried his 14th from the slot at 19:06.
Zajac later added his ninth of the season after a broken play turned into New Jersey's fourth goal. His errant pass on a Devils rush was well ahead of Jamie Langenbrunner
, but Langenbrunner followed the puck into the right corner for a centering feed that Zajac tipped past Auld at 12:09.
Elias got his 15th of the year, three shy of Parise's team lead, courtesy of a Parise pass that he put by Auld from the slot on the power play at 14:39.
Elias and Parise now share the team lead for assists (21)... John Madden (ill) missed Friday's game. In his absence, Jay Pandolfo moved to the left side of Mike Rupp and Sheldon Brookbank. Bobby Holik centered Brian Rolston
on the left with David Clarkson
on the right... Bryce Salvador
(upper body soreness) did not play... Andy Greene
was back in the lineup Friday, returning from the broken hand that cost him 18 games. Greene had been activated from injured reserve for New Jersey's games in Toronto and Buffalo, but did not dress.
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