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newjerseydevils.com – The Prudential Center era begins tonight.
The Devils will finally play their first game at the Prudential Center on Saturday, facing the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators (7:00 p.m., FSN NY, WFAN 660 AM).
After opening the season with a nine-game road trip, New Jersey (3-5-1) will be playing at their new home in Newark, N.J. for the first time.
"It's going to be new for both teams," Travis Zajac said of the new arena. "The only advantage we'll have is that the fans will be cheering for us."
The Devils will now play five games at home in the next two weeks. Their last home game was on May 5, when Ottawa won 3-2 in the decisive game of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series, and New Jersey's final contest at Continental Airlines Arena.
A home game, regardless of the change in location, will be a relief for the Devils, who have lost six of their first nine games. Three of the losses were shutouts, including a 2-0 defeat to the Rangers on Thursday night.
New Jersey also lost 4-2 to Ottawa on Oct. 8.
"Obviously you're going to feel things out in the first day, but there's no other way around it," Brian Gionta said. "A lot of things about the new building aren't going to be familiar, but I don't think that's going to be a factor because you're so pumped up and excited about it."
The Devils hope a home game will help get Martin Brodeur back in a groove. He has had a subpar start, posting a 3.30 goals-against average.
Brodeur, though, was sharp against the Rangers, making 29 saves. He is 28-17-0 with four ties and a 2.18 GAA in 49 regular-season games against the Senators (8-1-0), and had a 2.65 GAA in last season's playoff series with Ottawa.
Brodeur's counterpart on the Senators, Ray Emery, made his first start of the season Saturday night, stopping 31 shots in a 4-1 win over Florida.
Emery, who had offseason wrist surgery, started all five games of Ottawa's semifinal series with New Jersey last season, posting a 2.06 GAA.
"I just have to play solid so it makes it easier to come back from an injury," Emery said. "It was a welcome change to get back in a game."
Ottawa has won three straight since its only loss of the season, 5-3 to Carolina on Oct. 11.
Mike Fisher and Shean Donovan had second-period goals for the Senators on Saturday, and Christoph Schubert and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the third. Ottawa is 7-0 when scoring the first goal.
Jason Spezza was held off the scoresheet against the Panthers after having at least a point in each of the first eight games. He leads the team with 11 assists, and is second with 12 points.
Spezza had three goals and five assists against the Devils in the playoffs last season, and has two goals and 10 assists in his last nine regular-season games against them.
Alfredsson tops the Senators with 13 points (six goals, seven assists).
with wire services
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