NJD Preview: Devils vs. Senators
Friday, 12.19.2008 / 7:00 PM
New Jersey Devils
**NOTICE: In light of tonight's inclement weather conditions the Devils advise fans to utilize the NJ TRANSIT or PATH rail systems. Click the links for schedule information.**
newjerseydevils.com – The Devils try for their second win in a row when they host the Ottawa Senators tonight at Prudential Center (7 p.m., MSG Plus, WFAN 660 AM).
After suffering consecutive losses for the first time in a month, the Devils rebounded with a solid 5-3 showing over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. Five different players scored for the Devils, including leading scorer Zach Parise, who got his 18th of the season. New Jersey topped Buffalo for the first time in three meetings this season.
Parise snapped a 1-1 tie in the first period, and New Jersey held the lead before until pulling away for good in a 3:27 span of the third. David Clarkson notched his sixth of the season on a breakaway before setting up Brian Rolston's first goal in seven games since returning from an ankle sprain.
With two assists Wednesday, Patrik Elias extended his point streak to eight, and he has nine goals and 23 points over the last 14 games. Parise has goals in two straight games and in five of the last seven contests.
"We're gaining confidence and learning a lot about each other," captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "We're proving to ourselves as well as the rest of the league that we have a good team, and not just Marty carrying us. I think it can be huge for us later on in the year."
Scott Clemmensen stopped 23 of 26 shots for his ninth win of the season. The 31-year-old netminder owns a mark of 9-3-1, and has won five of his last six starts.
New Jersey's four-week run offers a snapshot of what the club has needed to win games this season. The team is one point behind Pittsburgh for third place in the Atlantic Division.
Winners in 10 of their last 13, the Devils averaged 4.8 goals per game on a five-game winning streak from Nov. 15-26, and 4.25 per game on a four-game streak from Dec. 4-12. They scored just two goals in each of consecutive losses to Buffalo on Dec. 13 and Toronto on Dec. 16.
For the Senators, coach Craig Hartsburg is attempting an offensive shake-up.
That means new linemates for Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza, who earned their Pizza Line nickname by scoring enough goals to win fans free pizza.
There hasn't been much scoring lately for Ottawa with four goals in the last four games, including a 4-1 loss Tuesday to Atlanta.
Heatley, the team leader with 14 goals and 28 points, and Spezza have not recorded a point in the last four games, and Alfredsson has one goal in that span.
The Senators also come into Friday's contest having gone 1-3-1 in their past five games.
After starting Martin Gerber in three of the last four games and in two straight contests, Ottawa is expected to put Alex Auld back in goal against the Devils.
Auld started 12 consecutive games until Dec. 10 at Chicago and had gone 3-1-3 in the previous seven games. Auld, who allowed a season-high five goals in a 5-1 loss at Washington last Friday, is 0-3-0 lifetime against New Jersey despite giving up two goals in each of those starts.
The Devils have split the last four overall meetings with Ottawa but won five of the last seven at home.
with wire services