Devils 4, Senators 1
Langenbrunner scored twice on Tuesday to lead the Devils past the Senators, 4-1.
The trick for any team coming out of the All-Star break is to return rested without getting rusty.
But the first-place Devils picked up right where they left off, getting two goals from Jamie Langenbrunner
and 21 saves from Scott Clemmensen to remain red-hot with a 4-1 win over the Senators Tuesday in Ottawa.
Langenbrunner broke a 1-1 tie with 5:41 left in the second period then added an insurance marker 19 seconds into the third for his first two-goal game of the season.
Clemmensen won his fifth in a row and reached 20 victories for the first time in his career. Before this season, Clemmensen had never won more than three games or made more than 13 appearances in any one campaign.
The 31-year-old goaltender, who has shouldered much of the workload since Martin Brodeur
was lost to a left elbow injury on Nov. 1, didn't see his first action until Nov. 9. Now he's just four wins behind New York's Henrik Lundqvist for the Eastern Conference lead.
New Jersey beat Ottawa for the third straight time this season and ran its winning streak to a season-high six in a row.
notched his 21st goal of the season and Brendan Shanahan added his second goal in three games. Elias closed to within 18 points of John MacLean's franchise record.
New Jersey gave up a power-play goal to Alexandre Picard in the second, but came through with a critical kill on Shanahan's four-minute high-sticking double minor six minutes into the third.
It was the perfect way for the Devils to open the season's second half. They maintained their one-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division, and showed no signs of slowing down before Thursday's meeting with the league-leading Bruins in Boston.
New Jersey's stretch of three games in four nights concludes when it hosts Pittsburgh Friday at Prudential Center.
The Devils entered Tuesday's contest averaging three goals per game while allowing a fifth-best 2.47 per game. They held serve on both counts in Ottawa, scoring three or more goals for the fifth time in their last six contests and holding an opponent to one goal for the fourth time in their last five.
Elias got things rolling in the first five minutes at Scotiabank Place by driving to the front of the net. Brian Gionta's centering feed from the right wing caromed off Elias' skate and past Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott at 4:54.
Elias stretched his points streak to four games (2g-3a), while Gionta snapped a four-game points drought with his 28th assist.
Picard's power-play one-timer tied the game at 10:54 of the second. With Bryce Salvador
in the box for hooking, Daniel Alfredsson fed cross-slot to Picard at the right dot. Clemmensen moved across in time, but only got a piece of Picard's shot with the top edge of his catching glove.
Langenbrunner's ninth of the season soon put the Devils back on top. Travis Zajac
, who had two assists, tipped Johnny Oduya's blast wide off the end boards, and Langenbrunner smartly put the rebound off Elliott and into the net at 14:19.
Zajac caught fire during the Devils' recent six-game road trip and continued to pile up points Tuesday. The third-year center has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last eight games, and his line with Langenbrunner and Zach Parise
has accounted for 29 points (14g-15a) over that span.
Langenbrunner made it a two-goal Devils' lead when he netted his 10th just 19 seconds into the final frame.
The team captain converted Parise's lunging backhand pass to beat Elliott from the bottom of the left circle and make it 3-1.
Shanahan snapped his second of the season from the right circle to blow it open with 8:43 left in regulation.
The last time Brodeur wasn't in goal for the Devils in a game at Ottawa was Dec. 3, 1992, when he was not yet on the roster. Craig Billington was in goal that night and made 29 saves in a 3-3 tie.
|Three star selections