Line dancing fails Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

NEWARK, N.J. -- On the heels of a one-sided defeat, John Paddock shuffled his deck last night.

And while the effort was better, the result was still a loss, a 3-2 overtime decision to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

While the Senators picked up an important point on the road with a two-point effort from defenceman Luke Richardson and a goal by Randy Robitaille, Brian Gionta scored at 2:14 of overtime on a rebound off Senators goalie Martin Gerber.

Gerber stopped John Madden on two breakaways -- including one in the dying minutes of the third -- to send this game to OT. The Senators goalie was the reason this game was so close.

Coming off a 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, Paddock wanted to get a spark and did some line shuffling.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson was knocked off the big line to play with Mike Fisher and newcomer Cory Stillman. Dean McAmmond played alongside Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, while Chris Neil skated with Chris Kelly and Antoine Vermette.

"We played good in the first and we didn't quite maintain it," said Paddock. "It was individual turnovers that ended up in the net. Mistakes happen and there's nothing you can do about it."

Getting anything going was tough against the Devils. The win gave goalie Martin Brodeur, who made 23 stops, his 12th straight 30-win season.

"It's tough because they don't give up much," said Gerber.

Gerber, making his first start since Feb. 5 after Ray Emery had three straight appearances, had to come up big. But the goalie was lucky that Patrik Elias tipped a shot off the post late in the third with the score tied 2-2.

Gerber made his best stop late in the first period with the Devils on the power play. After Madden pushed Wade Redden aside and broke in alone, Gerber stuck out his right pad as Madden tried to go stick side.

BIZARRE PENALTY

Gerber was also given a bizarre delay of game penalty in the second when he made a stick save, that hit the netting. It didn't cost the Senators, but they argued the call.

"(Gerber) played really good," said Alfredsson. "We had chances in OT and they get the break."

Playing on the fourth line with Christoph Schubert and Shean Donovan and smelling a trip to the press box, Robitaille contributed for the second straight game -- with his 10th goal of the season.

The Devils pulled out to a 2-1 lead at 8:04 of the second. After Zach Parise stole the puck off Mike Commodore behind the net, it landed on Karel Rachunek's stick and he beat Gerber stick side.

Gerber didn't look good on the opening goal by the Devils. Clinging to a 1-0 lead and on the power play, defenceman Andrej Meszaros handed the puck to Jamie Langenbrunner, who beat Gerber through the five-hole.

Richardson, who hadn't scored since Dec. 18 against Boston (25 games), opened the scoring at 5:25 of the first period. It's the first time since the 2000-01 season that Richardson, a 38-year-old Ottawa native, has had two goals in a season. He was given an assist on Robitaille's goal -- the 200th point of his career.

"I play for a good offensive team and we try to act as a five-man unit on offence," said Richardson. "Once in a while when I get the puck back there, I put the puck on the net and I get lucky."

The Senators open a three-game homestand against the Devils on Saturday at 7 p.m.


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