Sens fall into Devs' trap

BRUCE GARRIOCH, OTTAWA SUN

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

Chris Phillips and the Senators have seen this before.

Perhaps, a little too often.

Yesterday, was just another day in the life of the New Jersey Devils as they took the lead, Martin Brodeur shut the door and the result was a 3-2 loss for the Senators in front of 19,548 at Scotiabank Place.

It wasn't pretty. Actually, it was pretty boring as Brodeur made 33 stops for the Devils to hand the Senators their first loss in regulation since a 4-2 defeat to the Lightning on Dec. 21.

"TYPICAL" DEVILS GAME

"It was a typical game against New Jersey," said Phillips as the club's record fall to 0-3 in afternoon games at home this season. "They stay back, but even more so, once they get a lead. They make it difficult to enter the zone and give you quality chances from in close. We showed good character by getting some chances, but Brodeur was there to make the stop.

"They'll sit back and wait for you to turn the puck over and capitalize on turnovers. They really don't give you a whole lot at all."

The Senators actually had a chance to tie the game. In fact, they had several. But Brian Gionta's second goal of the game with 3:33 left in the third period, after Andrej Meszaros got caught on a turnover, gave the Devils a 3-1 lead.

Tom Preissing slipped a rebound by Brodeur from the slot with 1:42 left in the third, but it didn't seem like the result was ever in doubt because the Devils made sure they kept the scoring chances for the Senators to a minimum.

"That was the key. They got ahead of us and were able to sit back a lot of the night and play the trap," said Ottawa coach Bryan Murray. "I thought we had some real good chances, but Brodeur -- typical of him -- made a lot of good stops.

"(New Jersey's) third goal was a bad one. It was a misread and it took our chance to win the game away."

Murray tried all he could to get the offence going. In the third, he moved Chris Kelly to the third line and used newly acquired centre Mike Comrie with Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley in an attempt to get a goal. Nothing was working as the Senators went 0-for-3 on the power play.

"We were down 2-1, and playing against that hockey team, I wanted a little bit more of an offensive type player with Alfredsson and Heatley. I was hoping to buy a goal out of that line," said Murray.

Alfredsson felt the Senators had opportunities.

"I thought we did generate some scoring chances, but Brodeur played really well," said Alfredsson. "We knew before the game if we could get that lead it would make life a lot easier for us."

JERSEY DOWN D-MEN

The Devils were without defencemen Colin White and Johnny Oduya and didn't even have a shot on Ray Emery in the third until their was 5:30 remaining. The club essentially played three blueliners with Paul Martin (31:05), Brian Rafalski (30:53) and Brad Lukowich (29:33) and needed a big effort from Brodeur for the win.

"He's just that type of goaltender," said Devils coach Claude Julien. "He was the big difference in the game. In the third period, he was outstanding, but you also have to give credit to the club. We're short on the back end and some guys were forced to play a lot."


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