OTTAWA (AP) -- It was hardly the ending the Ottawa Senators expected.
After leading the New Jersey Devils for 58 minutes, 23 seconds Saturday night, the Senators' 1-0 lead turned into a 2-1 loss.
Brian Gionta's game-winner came with just 18 seconds left, just 79 seconds after Scott Niedermayer tied it. Martin Brodeur made 18 saves for the win.
Daniel Alfredsson scored the lone goal for Ottawa, which got 18 saves from Martin Prusek in his fourth straight start.
The Devils got even when Senators defenseman Wade Redden missed the puck. That allowed Patrik Elias to put a shot on net and Niedermayer was able to tip it past Prusek.
Gionta scored on a wraparound seconds later after the Devils won a battle for the puck behind the Ottawa net.
"It's unbelievable, I don't even know what to say," an angry Alfredsson explained. "You can't give up a lead like that and then lose the game. If you want to be a top team you have to be better."
Redden was in obvious disgust with himself after the game and willing to shoulder part of the blame for the loss.
"We had the game," he said. "It was my mistake that let them get back in it. I didn't get the puck out. We've got to be better. Sure it's hard, but if you've got to get the puck down the ice get it down and protect the front of the net."
While the Devils have lots of respect for the Senators, they acknowledged being comfortable in a one-goal game.
"It's a 60-minute game," Scott Stevens said. "Anytime we're down 1-0 we still feel we have a chance. One goal is not a great lead. It can be enough to win, but we got the goal to tie and then the one to win."
Things started well for Ottawa when Jeff Friesen was called for slashing just 39 seconds into the game.
The Senators scored on the ensuing power play when Alfredsson beat Brodeur with a slap shot from the point. Brodeur didn't have much of a chance to stop the puck as New Jersey defenseman Scott Stevens screened him.
The Senators were 1-for-5 with the man advantage, and the Devils went 0-for-4.
Bryan Smolinski nearly made it 2-0 midway through the second after taking a perfect cross-crease pass from Marian Hossa, but Brodeur managed to slide across in time to make the save.
New Jersey's John Madden conceded that the Devils might have gotten a couple of lucky bounces.
"It's funny how a one-goal lead is enough to win, but it's not enough to sit on," he said. "I think this was a definite indication of our team's work ethic.
"Sometimes it's going to come down to the wire, but that's OK because we still feel we have a chance."
Prusek came up with a number of solid saves in the second. His best was a glove stop on Igor Larionov with less than three minutes remaining in the second.
The Stanley Cup champion Devils reached the finals last season after outlasting the Senators in a seven-game semifinal series.
|PPG - Daniel Alfredsson (12) ASST: Radek Bonk (15), Martin Havlat (10)|
1 - 0 OTT
|Scott Niedermayer (6) ASST: Patrik Elias (14)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brian Gionta (5) ASST: Jay Pandolfo (5), John Madden (9)|
2 - 1 NJD
|Power Play %||19.3%||16.8%|
|% on Road||21.6%||18.2%|
|% at Home||17.3%||15.5%|
|Jeff Friesen Slashing against Zdeno Chara|
|Zdeno Chara Hooking against John Madden|
|Erik Rasmussen Charging against Antoine Vermette|
|Brian Rafalski Hooking against Martin Havlat|
|Zdeno Chara Holding the stick against Jeff Friesen|
|Jason Spezza Too many men/ice - bench|
|Christian Berglund Interference against Shaun Van Allen|
|Zdeno Chara Roughing against John Madden|
|Scott Niedermayer Holding stick - Obstruction against Shaun Van Allen|