Sens take command

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Martin Brodeur again had trouble stopping shots, but that didn’t stop the New Jersey Devils goalie from firing a wicked shot of his own.

The shot was aimed directly at Senators goalie Ray Emery, the guy whose team is now up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semi-final series with a 3-2 win over the Devils last night.

“We finally proved if we shoot pucks at Emery, he doesn’t look too good,” said Brodeur. “Right now, nobody expects us to pull this off. We’re trying to create history, to a certain extent.”

Not so fast, Marty. The Senators are proving that the Devils goalie is merely mortal. Maybe too mortal for his own good. Mike Fisher’s first goal of the playoffs at 3:58 of the third period turned out to be the game-winner.

“It was nice to get one. It’s been a while since I scored,” said Fisher. “This is a good position. We just have to go there and get the job done. It was just important to win this. But we know it will be tough.”

Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson also scored while Emery did just enough to drop Brodeur’s lifetime playoff record in Ottawa to an amazing 2-7.

Jay Pandolfo scored in the third to close the gap, while Brian Gionta also replied for the Devils.

Only 20-of-215 teams have come back to win a series after trailing 3-1 which means the Devils are facing long odds as the scene switches to Continental Airlines Arena for what could be a decisive Game 5 Saturday night.

“We’ve got them 3-1, but we know we have to go there and win one,” said Heatley.

The Senators can secure a spot in the Eastern final for the first time since they were eliminated by the Devils in a heartbreaking Game 7 loss in 2003.

Choking the life out of the Devils won’t be easy. The Senators controlled play for long periods of time, but had some difficulty getting shots through to Brodeur, who was beaten twice on his glove side.

The Senators got a big break in the second period as an attempted pass by Heatley at 14:44, went through a crowd and appeared to bounce off the inside of Brodeur’s skate.

This was the second weak game for Brodeur in this series.

“I was just trying to make a back door pass and it went in,” said Heatley. “You don’t expect to get one like that on (Brodeur).

“We know (Brodeur’s) a good goalie, but we know that we can beat him,” said Alfredsson. “We respect him, but we’ve been getting chances.”

If the Devils could find a way to solve Emery, they’d be leading this series. He was serving up big rebounds and had the benefit of two posts in the first, but the Devils finally broke a shutout string of 84:17 when Gionta tied it 1-1 in the second.

After a slashing penalty to Anton Volchenkov, Gionta was able to pick up a rebound and beat Emery on the stick side. It was the first goal Emery ha given up at home since Game 2 of the first round.

The Devils’ power play continued to have its struggles because of aggressive penalty killing by the Senators. New Jersey went just 1-for-5 in the first 40 minutes.

“I’m just really pleased with the effort and character of this team,” said Senators coach Bryan Murray. “We know we’re going to facing a desperate team and it’s going to be tough to close them out.

“The key was getting the lead. After Pandolfo scored, we didn’t step back. We just kept going and that was important.”

If a Game 6 is necessary it will be played Monday in Ottawa, but if it’s all the same to the Senators and there fans, they’d like to wrap it up on the road to get rested up to face either the New York Rangers or Buffalo Sabres in Round 3.

“Everyone has to play their best game for three games in a row,” said Brodeur. “The thing we have to look at now is trying to get the momentum back.”


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