Jason Spezza scored 90 seconds into the game, and the Senators jumped to a 4-0 first-period lead from which the Devils could not recover in a 5-4 victory Thursday night in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Joe Corvo, Dean McAmmond, Dany Heatley and Wade Redden also scored for Ottawa, which came within a goal post of blowing the four-goal lead late in the second period.
Travis Zajac, Brian Gionta and Andy Greene scored for the Devils to cut the Ottawa lead to 4-3 early in the second period. Scott Gomez beat Senators goaltender Ray Emery in close later in the period but the clang of metal kept Ottawa ahead.
Zach Parise did score with 30 seconds left to bring the Devils within one goal.
New Jersey played without captain Patrik Elias, who was sidelined with the effects of a lingering cold.
Coming off an impressive first-round win over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Senators came out flying in the first period and seemed intent on embarrassing Brodeur, scoring four times in the opening 16:39.
Brodeur struggled early in the Devils’ opening-round win over Tampa Bay and the pattern was present in this game. He finished with 21 saves.
Spezza scored on a tip-in 1:30 into the game and Corvo ripped a power-play goal off Brodeur’s glove at 6:49.
Seconds after Gionta was stopped in close on a power play, McAmmond stole the puck from Devils defenceman Brian Rafalski and scored a short-handed goal. Less than two minutes later, Heatley broke into the New Jersey zone on a 2-on-1 break and fired a shot into the top of the net.
Fans at the Continental Airlines Arena let out a collective groan, and it seemed the game was over.
No one bothered to tell the Devils.
Less than a minute later, Zajac beat Emery in close off a nice setup by Jamie Langenbrunner to get the Devils on the board.
Gionta got the crowd back into the game early in the second period with a goal from the top of the left circle after an inept power play ended, and then Greene had them roaring with a goal from the left point at 4:59, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Gomez came close to tying the game, but it was not to be.
Redden restored the Senators’ two-goal lead on a power play in the opening minute of the third period.
Emery finished with 26 saves.
Notes: D Tom Preissing originally got credit for the Senators’ first goal. Replays showed Spezza tipped in the shot. … The crowd of 15,512 was about 3,500 shy of a sellout.