Senators feel bedevilled

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

NEWARK, N.J. -- Chris Kelly shook his head and wondered.

The Senators centre summed up the way everybody was feeling in the club's dressing room after the club blew a one-goal lead in the dying minutes and then allowed Brian Rolston to score the winner on the power play in OT to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-3 victory.

The Senators took solace in the fact they were able to pick up a point on the strength of Kelly's fourth of the season along with a two-point effort from Antoine Vermette, but that's not going to cut it anymore if the club is going to get back into the playoff race.

First, Jamie Langenbrunner tied it up on the power play with 3:38 to go and then Rolston played the role of hero with Chris Phillips in the box.

That ruined what had been a solid performance by goalie Alex Auld along with goals from Brendan Bell and Nick Foligno on the power play.

"You can look at it any way. We get a penalty and they tie it up and then they score on another penalty in OT," said Kelly, who scored at 7:14 of the third to give Ottawa a 3-2 lead. "They are a good team. They work hard and they play a good system. I thought we competed all night with them. For a bit, we were in a great position.

"It was good we got the point, but we would have liked both."

Senators coach Craig Hartsburg and Phillips were frustrated as they left the ice. Phillips was given a holding penalty in OT that they felt was questionable and at the end of the game Foligno was given an abuse of official call which could result in a suspension.

"I felt the puck was right there and I'm allowed to give the guy a push. Once he's by, I don't grab him or anything. That was a tough one for me to swallow there," said Phillips.

AULD ONE SAVE SHORT

Dainius Zubrus had a two-goal performance for the Devils.

Auld was strong, but he couldn't come up with the kind of stop a struggling team needs late in the game, as Langenbrunner sent it to OT by firing home a power-play goal with 3:38 left.

Ultimately, the Senators had a better effort through 40 minutes. They created scoring chances on New Jersey goaltender Scott Clemmensen and used their speed well.

"It's tough. It would have been great to pull this one off. It would have done a lot for us and a lot for our confidence and a lot for us finishing this trip off," Auld said. "Obviously, the point is huge, we just need to get better.

"I thought we started the way we wanted. There were times we played exactly the way we wanted. Every time we got away from that they got a goal and were able to get back into the game. That's what they are all about: Waiting for a mistake or deviation from your plan and then they are going to jump on it."

Brendan Bell, who was back in the lineup due to Anton Volchenkov's injury, scored his first goal since a two-point effort against Atlanta on Dec. 3. Jason Spezza's pass bounced off the skate of Devils defenceman Bryce Salvador and Bell beat Clemmensen on the stick side at 3:50 of the second.

"We got two power-play goals and a goal by Kelly's line. It's unfortunate we couldn't hold on to it," said coach Craig Hartsburg. "There were a lot of guys who battled and tried."

There was a scary moment in the first. Winger Chris Neil was trying to hit New Jersey defenceman Andy Greene and instead drilled Foligno. Foligno was able to get up right away, but Neil had a strong fight with Devils winger David Clarkson.

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GAME STORY

How They Scored

FIRST PERIOD

1. SENS: On the power play, Foligno takes the puck down low and beats Clemmensen through the five-hole. Sens 1, Devils 0.

2. DEVILS: While Auld makes the initial save on Gionta, Zubrus is there to put the rebound home on glove side. Sens 1, Devils 1.

SECOND PERIOD

3. SENS: On the power play, Spezza's attempted pass bounces off Salvador to Bell and he beats Clemmensen glove side. Sens 2, Devils 1

4. DEVILS: Zubrus completes a perfect three-way passing play by beating Auld on the stick side from the slot. Sens 2, Devils 2.

THIRD PERIOD

5. SENS: Vermette throws the puck out front to Kelly and he beats Clemmensen on the glove side. Sens 3, Devils 2.

6. DEVILS: On the power play, Langenbrunner fires it under Auld's blocker from the top of the right circle. Sens 3, Devils 3.

OVERTIME

7. DEVILS: Rolston fires a bullet from the point by Auld on the blocker side and into the net. Devils 4, Sens 3.

THREE STARS

Selected by Bruce Garrioch

- Zubrus

Devils

- Vermette

Senators

- Rolston

Devils


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