Senators 2, Devils 0
Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:11 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Milan Michalek scored in the second period, and Craig Anderson notched his first victory in almost two months with 33 saves to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 2-0 win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday at Prudential Center.
Anderson, who entered the game with the highest save percentage and lowest goals-against average in the NHL, recorded his first shutout in nine career appearances against the Devils. The 31-year-old missed 18 games with an ankle injury before losing back-to-back against the Florida Panthers on April 7 and Tampa Bay Lightning two days later.
He would not be denied this victory against the Devils.
It was Anderson's first win since a 38-save, 3-1 victory against the New York Islanders on Feb. 19. His play down the stretch will go a long way in helping the Senators again establish themselves prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They had dropped five straight regulation losses before defeating the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and now the Devils. Anderson, the game's first star, improved to 6-2-1 against New Jersey.
The victory gives the Senators a two-point lead over the Islanders for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining. After a visit to TD Garden to face the Boston Bruins on Monday, Ottawa will play five of its last six regular-season games at Scotiabank Place.
The Devils are winless in their last nine games (0-5-4) and sit 10th in the East with 15 wins and 40 points with seven games remaining. New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer pulled goalie Martin Brodeur with 2:12 left in the third period, but Ottawa bottled up the middle of the ice to secure Anderson's third shutout of the season.
New Jersey had a 33-11 advantage in shots on goal.
The Devils finished 0-for-4 on the power play and have been held without a goal in their past 15 opportunities with the man advantage.
The Senators opened a 2-0 lead early in the second on the goals by Pageau and Michalek in a span of 3:44.
Pageau, who was called up from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton on Wednesday, scored his first NHL goal on a perfectly timed tip in front of Brodeur at the 3:08 mark. Colin Greening took a feed from Erik Condra in the right circle and drove a high backhand attempt Pageau deflected with his stick from waist high.
Michalek, who had missed the previous 15 games with a knee injury, made it 2-0 when he broke in 2-on-0 with captain Daniel Alfredsson and started a give-and-go before depositing his third of the season past a sliding Brodeur from the left circle at 6:52. Devils defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Marek Zidlicky bumped into one another at the Senators blue line following an offensive-zone faceoff win by Travis Zajac.
Anderson would keep his team ahead by two when he denied Ryan Carter off a 2-on-1 with Stephen Gionta on a quick right-pad save with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second.
The Devils missed a golden opportunity to grab the lead in the first period but failed on three power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:24 with Marc Methot and Erik Condra in the box. New Jersey misfired on another power-play attempt at 13:20 when Sergei Gonchar was whistled for hooking Gionta. The Devils generated three of their nine first-period shots with the man advantage, but Anderson was there each time.
The best opportunity for the Devils came with the teams at even strength when Steve Sullivan rang a rebound attempt off the short-side post from the bottom of the right circle at 8:20.