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Devils return home to face surging Senators

by Mike G. Morreale /

SENATORS (12-6-3) at DEVILS (14-6-1)

Last 10 -- Senators (6-3-1); Devils (7-2-1)

Season series -- The clubs are meeting for the second time this season. The Devils rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory in Ottawa on Nov. 7, as Zach Parise and David Clarkson each notched a goal and an assist while defenseman Andy Greene scored the game-winner on a power-play goal 7:20 into the third period. Martin Brodeur made 19 saves in his 1,000th NHL start to notch the victory.

Big Story -- Ottawa forward Jason Spezza broke out of a six-game pointless slump with two assists in a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Still, it remains a mystery why Spezza, who has scored 30 or more goals in each of the last three seasons, has just 1 goal in 19 games. The Senators are in the middle of a stretch that sees them play seven times in 12 days. The club plays six of its next seven on the road after having played 14 home games -- the most of any team in the League at this stage. The Devils, meanwhile, return home following an uninspiring 0-2-1 road swing.

Team Scope

Senators -- The Senators, who lead the Northeast Division with 27 points, are playing some of their best hockey of the season. The club won its fourth straight game on Monday when Mike Fisher scored 1:14 into overtime to give the Sens a 4-3 triumph over the Washington Capitals. Fisher, who has 10 goals and 21 points this season, was selected the NHL's Third Star of the Week. Goalie Brian Elliott made 25 saves in his fifth start for the Senators, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to wrap up a 4-0-1 homestand. Before Monday, the Senators had been 0-5-1 when trailing after two periods.

"We've been elevating our game against top teams and that's a great sign," Fisher said.

Devils -- Many of the organization's top prospects have been penciled in on the roster much sooner than expected as the injuries continue to mount for New Jersey. Tyler Eckford and Matt Corrente earned their first cup of coffee last week, joining rookies Niclas Bergfors, Matt Halischuk, Ilkka Pikkarainen, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Tim Sestito and Mark Fraser. The team's game against the Senators starts a stretch of three games in less than four days as the Devils play matinees at Boston on Friday and then at home against the Islanders on Saturday. … The wife of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, Genevieve, gave birth to a son, Maxime Philippe Brodeur, on Monday.

Who's hot -- Devils forward Patrik Elias appears to be rediscovering his touch. New Jersey's all-time leading scorer, who returned to the lineup on Nov. 6 following groin surgery in September, has 5 assists during a three-game streak. Ottawa has been paced by Fisher and captain Daniel Alfredsson -- Fisher has 10 goals and is second in team scoring with 21 points. He's been a key member of the team's eighth-ranked penalty kill (82.6 percent) and ranks 18th in the League with a 54.5 faceoff-winning percentage. Alfie leads the team with 15 assists and 23 points.

Injury report -- Senators forward Shean Donovan (knee) and goalie Pascal Leclaire (fractured right cheekbone) are out and defenseman Anton Volchenkov (right elbow), who recently started skating with his teammates again, is day-to-day. The Devils are still without forwards Jay Pandolfo (dislocated right shoulder), Rob Niedermayer (upper body) and Dainius Zubrus (fractured right kneecap) and defensemen Paul Martin (broken arm) and Johnny Oduya (lower body).

Stat pack -- Even Parise had his six-game goal-scoring streak snapped in a loss to Dallas on Saturday, he did notch an assist and has 12 points during a seven-game scoring streak.

Puck drop -- The Devils are looking to snap their longest winless streak of the season at three games (0-2-1) against a Senators team that is clicking. Goalie Mike Brodeur was recalled from Ottawa's American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton to serve as Brian Elliott's backup in the absence of Pascal Leclaire. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who has six career shutouts against the Sens, remains one shutout short of tying the NHL record of 103 held by Hockey Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk.

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