Aw shoot! Sens lose

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If last night was a glimpse of the first round of the playoffs for the Senators, they might want to avoid another trip back to Continental Airlines Arena.

The good news is if the Senators beat Pittsburgh tomorrow night, they'll likely face the Penguins, not the Devils, in the first round.

While Bryan Murray turned to his big guns -- including Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley -- in last night's shootout, it was John Madden who scored in the sixth round to give the Devils a 2-1 victory.

"That was a typical Devils' game," said Senators centre Mike Fisher. "There weren't a lot of chances. (Martin) Brodeur came up big and they end up winning in a shootout. Anything can happen in that situation."

"That was a tough game, but we knew it was going to be that way," said winger Antoine Vermette.

Really, a playoff series would come down to Brodeur vs. Ray Emery.

Only Alfredsson was able to score for the Senators in regulation, while Madden responded for the Devils as Brodeur picked up his 47th win of the season to tie a record set by Philly's Bernie Parent in 1972-73.

With the Sabres' victory over the Penguins last night, the Senators officially had their chance of finishing first overall in the East dashed, but Ottawa can still clinch home ice by finishing fourth.

NO GOALS FOR 50 MINUTES

The teams went 50 minutes without a goal last night, but then exchanged goals within a span of 21 seconds in the third period.

Just moments after Madden broke the scoreless tie at 10:15, Alfredsson tied it at 10:36 with his 28th of the season, beating a screened Brodeur with a bullet from the slot as Spezza went to the net to create traffic.

There was some bad blood built up as Alfredsson elbowed Madden to the head in the third. Alfredsson was able to avoid a return elbow late in the game.

The Devils had a new face behind the bench as president/GM Lou Lamoriello took over the coaching duties from the fired Claude Julien, but nothing about New Jersey's approach to the game changed.

While the Senators tried to use their speed to beat the Devils, New Jersey did everything it could to slow down the game and limit the chances. Naturally, when the Senators did get a chance, Brodeur was there to make the big stops.

"I thought we played pretty well," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "It was a real solid hockey game. Both teams played hard and both goalies were good. It comes down to shooting the puck one-on-one and we haven't done a good job in that area.

"I wanted to put it on (Heatley, Alfredsson and Spezza). I wanted to see one of them score a goal. Brodeur made a big stop on Spezza."

While defenceman Anton Volchenkov returned after missing Saturday's victory over the Isles with a head cold, winger Patrick Eaves was out for his third straight game with a groin injury. He could play tomorrow vs. the Penguins at Scotiabank Place.

Customers who bought the Senators' pay-per-view package last night may have been frustrated. The feed fizzed out a couple of times, with a Devils feed eventually brought in.


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