OTTAWA – The New Jersey Devils found a way Saturday night to extended their unbeaten road record to eight games, even if it wasn’t all that pretty.
Zach Parise and David Clarkson each had a goal and an assist on the power play as the Devils came from behind in the third period to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2.
“It seems we find ways to win,” said Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. “We stuck with it. It wasn’t a really pretty game on our part, but we came through.”
The Devils (11-4-0) are riding the second-longest road winning streak to open a season in NHL history. The Buffalo Sabres opened the 2006-07 season with a ten-game winning streak on the road.
The Devils trailed 2-1 heading into the third, but scored two power-play goals in the third to earn the win.
“This is our team,” said Devils coach Jacques Lemaire. “They believe they can come back. It’s all tight games that we’re getting, but they never let down and they always feel they have a chance to come back.”
The Devils were the first to admit that they didn’t get off to a great start, but seem to be able to hang in long enough to make good things happen.
The Senators (7-5-2), however, continue to let games and points slip away due to their own mistakes.
“We’ve just got to find a way to stay out of the box,” said Senators coach Cory Clouston. “Whatever it may be, whether we feel we’re getting the short end of the stick, we’ve got to find a way to stay out of the box.”
Pascal Leclaire, celebrating his 27th birthday, was the first to admit he could have been better.
“I’m mad at myself,” he said. “I made a mistake on that second goal and then I was screened on the last one. It was frustrating.”
The Senators got off to a strong start, but just couldn’t hold it together in the final 20 minutes.
Milan Michalek and Brian Lee scored for Ottawa, while the Devils received power-play goals from Parise, Clarkson and Andy Greene. Brodeur faced 21 shots.
The Senators opened the scoring at the 14-minute mark of the first after creating a flurry of great chances. Daniel Alfredsson found Michalek who beat Brodeur shortside.
Ottawa made it 2-0 midway through the second on Lee’s first goal of the season – one that Brodeur would have loved to get back. Lee carried the puck from his own end and let a wrist shot go that just slipped under Brodeur’s left leg, and while he sprawled to grab the puck it had already trickled across the line.
“Those goals will happen,” said Brodeur. “This one was pretty bad, but you’ve just got to focus on the next one.”
The Devils cut the lead in half with their first power-play goal as Parise was able to pick the puck out of traffic in front and raise it over Leclaire.
With Jarkko Ruutu serving a holding penalty the Devils tied it as Clarkson beat Leclaire through the legs from a sharp angle.
“I thought the second goal was the turning point for them,” said Clouston. “Obviously it was one that Pascal would have liked to have back, but they were just better positionally than we were tonight and when they got the lead they just shut it down.”
Greene scored the eventual winner on a screened shot.
“We played a great start of the game and then took too many penalties again,” said Ottawa’s Jason Spezza. “It cost us so it was a frustrating loss.”
Jesse Winchester played his first game of the season after missing the first 13 with a knee injury.
Notes: The Senators have not beat the Devils since Oct. 27, 2007… The Senators were without D Anton Volchenkov (elbow, 2-3 weeks), while RW Ryan Shannon and RW Shean Donovan were a healthy scratch. aThe Devils were without D Johnny Oduya (lower body, indefinite), C Rob Niedermayer (upper body, indefinite), D Paul Martin, (forearm fracture, four weeks), LW Jay Pandolfo (shoulder, four weeks)… New Jersey’s Patrik Elias was a healthy scratch. Elias returned to the Devils lineup Nov. 6 after missing the first 13 games due to off-season groin surgery and the team didn’t want him playing back-to-back games. …LW Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond was also a healthy scratch.