Senators 3, Devils 2 F/OT
Monday, 01.02.2012 / 10:56 PM
KANATA, Ont. – Daniel Alfredsson may be stuck on repeat, but the Ottawa Senators aren't complaining.
"We couldn't ask for more of our captain," goaltender Craig Anderson said.
Ottawa's leader scored a power-play goal 4:00 into overtime off a feed from Erik Karlsson – a near-mirror image of his 400th goal on Friday against Calgary – lifting the Sens to a 3-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Place.
"Being down two goals, coming back on the power play in overtime, a pass from Erik (Karlsson) and I shoot," Alfredsson said of the déjà-vu tally. "I was able to wait – he gave me a pass to my back and I was able to pull it to my forehand, and Milo's (Milan Michalek) doing a good job keeping the goalie deep in the net and I was able to find a corner."
It was another comeback victory for the Senators, who were down 2-0 going into the third period. Ottawa has had five of its last six games go into overtime or a shootout.
"I think for us, we stick with the program; we stick with the game," Anderson said. "And we don't venture too far off of it. Eventually we wear the other team down and we make the best of our chances. They have a breakdown, (Jason) Spezza gets in on a breakaway and he you can't let that happen – he's going to score almost every time. We've got some good players and they make (other teams) pay."
The loss was the Devils' fourth in a row at Scotiabank Place, where they have not won since Nov. 7, 2009. It was a frustrating way to end the night for New Jersey, after holding the Senators at bay for the majority of the game.
The best chance for either team in the first period came when a giveaway by Brian Lee was picked up by Travis Zajac
. The Devils' forward fired a shot on Anderson that hit the crossbar and post before toppling behind the Sens' goaltender, who eventually located the puck and kept it out of the net.
The giveaways from Ottawa's defensemen continued, leading to another great chance for the Devils midway into the second period, when Karlsson gift-wrapped a pass to Ilya Kovalchuk
, whose breakaway was stymied when Anderson just managed to squeeze his pads shut.
The Devils would open the scoring in the second, when Petr Sykora
's rebound popped out to Dainius Zubrus
, who beat Anderson five-hole at 7:47 for his 200th NHL tally.
New Jersey made it 2-0 when Zajac's wrister snuck through Anderson's five-hole, and David Clarkson
tipped it past the goal line for his team-leading 14th of the season at 14:18.
Ottawa cut the lead in half early in the third, when Karlsson's feed found Spezza, who broke in and beat Brodeur at 1:21. Ottawa has come to rely on Spezza at home, with 10 out of his 14 goals coming on home ice. Anderson also picked up his career-high fourth assist of the season and the 11th of his career.
The Sens got even when Condra broke in shorthanded and wristed a laser from the faceoff circle past Brodeur at 13:17. It was the League-leading 12th shorthanded goal allowed by the Devils this season.
The Devils' goaltender expressed his disappointment of the Condra goal, which caught him off-guard.
"It was tough on the gap on my D; it was tough on me also because you didn't expect a quick shot like that," Brodeur said. "It was something you should have anyway even though it touched something. I have to make that save."
Clarkson was called for hooking at 2:58 into overtime, which eventually led to Alfredsson's winning goal. Clarkson held himself accountable for the loss.
"Maybe I shouldn't have gone for the puck a second time," Clarkson said. "I have to take responsibility for that, because it's a penalty in overtime that cost us and points are so big right now. It's a tough one to swallow. We had them down. Bottom line -- that penalty at the end cost us. I have to be smarter than that."
With their 20th win of the season, the Senators now sit in sixth place in the Eastern conference. The wins haven't always come the way they expected, but coach Paul MacLean is happy with his team's performance so far.
"It's something we've tried to emphasize since Day 1 -- to place 200 feet and to be able to play 60, 65 minutes or whatever it's going to take," MacLean said. "We don't preach before the game, 'Let's give them two and then come from behind.' We like to say, 'Let's get out and get the lead,' and we like to have the opportunity to have and hold the lead. But until we experience that, we'll take the wins the way they come."
Sergei Gonchar, who practiced and took the warm-up on Monday, was "not feeling up to it" (going back to taking a puck to the head in warmups in Buffalo on Saturday) and was made a late scratch. Chris Phillips left after the second period, and did not return. He has an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.