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Cammalleri, Schneider lead Devils past Senators

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mike Cammalleri scored his NHL-leading seventh game-winning goal and goaltender Cory Schneider made 19 saves in his NHL-leading 44th start to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

The victory by the Devils (20-22-9) was the second straight and the fourth in the past five games (4-0-1).

Devils co-coach Lou Lamoriello was asked if he believes the team is playing how he envisioned when he took over behind the bench with co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens on Dec. 27.

"We still have some things that we want to do but the three areas of the game that are important, the power play, penalty kill and 5-on-5, we're now getting the right play at the right time in all those situations," Lamoriello said. "That's all you could ask for. You just have to keep working and stay positive and trust in the players."

Cammalleri gave the Devils their first lead when he controlled a pass from Jaromir Jagr at the right hash mark before scoring his team-leading 17th goal of the season into the top left corner past Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner.

"It was a great play by [Jagr]," Cammalleri said. "Jagr has the ability to draw one-plus people to him in the offensive zone so that's what makes the play. Then he's able to thread the needle to me."

Adam Henrique also scored for the Devils, who close out a five-game homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday before traveling to Bell Centre to play the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

"We're ready to play those types of [close one-goal] games," Henrique said. "I think all good teams have to be able to play that way and win one-goal games. Once the playoffs come around the games tighten up but there are games where we're shooting the puck well and putting up four or five. Right now we're able to play both ways."

The assist by Jagr gave him 1,067 for his career, moving him within 12 of Oates (1,079) for sixth on the all-time list. He also has 1,782 points and trails Ron Francis (1,798 points) by 16 points for fourth on the all-time list.

Schneider had eight saves in the third. His best sequence came off a rip from defenseman Erik Karlsson and the subsequent rebound down low by Milan Michalek with three minutes remaining in regulation.

In the closing seconds with Lehner pulled for an extra attacker, Schneider stopped Clarke MacArthur from the slot. Bobby Ryan had the puck on his stick to Schneider's right off a pass from Kyle Turris but Adam Larsson prevented him from getting a shot off when he hit his stick as time expired.

"That's the end of the game sometimes, the puck got scrambly and they got it through," Schneider said. "They were outnumbering us with the extra man and took a couple of whacks at it. It popped open and [Larsson] tied up [Ryan]. It was a close call."

The Senators took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period when Curtis Lazar stole the puck at center ice, broke in 1-on-1 against Schneider and pushed a backhand attempt into the right corner at 10:33. The goal came more than three minutes after Devils center Jacob Josefson was denied off a 2-on-1 with Tuomo Ruutu by a sprawling Lehner at the right post.

"That's how the Devils play most of their games; they create a lot of good chances, too," Lehner said. "The first period wasn't that many but they had a little more in the second and third. I wasn't too impressed with our effort today. I think both teams were slow to come out and I didn't feel like it was the most entertaining hockey game I played but they had less mistakes."

The goal by Lazar was his second of the season and first since helping lead Canada to the gold medal as captain at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Jan. 5.

Henrique scored his first goal in 13 games 1:34 after Lazar's goal on a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle over the far shoulder of a surprised Lehner. Henrique almost gave the Devils their first lead at 15:54 when he stole a pass attempt by Karlsson but was stopped on a breakaway by Lehner.

"You have to out-compete teams like this and do the little extra things to get away with something," Lehner said. "I think in the second and third periods, I didn't feel like any of us had our legs. A lot of the game was played in the neutral zone."

Lehner, who was wearing an ice bad on his right knee after the game, acknowledged that he was hit with the puck in a bad spot but said he will be fine.

Schneider came up big with 47 seconds remaining in the second period when he kicked away a snap shot attempt by Turris to keep the game tied at 1-1.

"It took us a couple of periods to turn it into a hockey game," Schneider said. "I think both teams were not executing as well as they probably would have liked. It felt like one of those games where a weird bounce might go in. In the third, I thought it would open up and once we got the go-ahead goal I thought we did a good job of slowing them down in the neutral zone and really frustrated them.

"That's how we're built. When we get a lead, we need to play smart defensively and not give the other team an opportunity."

The Senators, who have lost two of their past three games, return home to Canadian Tire Centre for games against the Washington Capitals on Thursday and Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Defenseman Chris Phillips, who has spent his entire career with the Senators since being selected No. 1 in 1996 NHL Draft, will become the all-time leader in games played with the team on Thursday. The 36-year-old defenseman is currently tied with Daniel Alfredsson (1,178) in games played.

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