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Devils-Senators Preview @NHL
Devils-Senators Preview

GAME: New Jersey Devils (9-8-2) at Ottawa Senators (14-3-0).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Ottawa Senators have saved their best games this season for Saturday nights.

They hope to maintain their perfect Saturday record as the New Jersey Devils visit the Corel Centre.

The Senators have won all five of their Saturday games by a 30-2 margin. They have scored at least five goals in all five games and goaltender Dominik Hasek has recorded all three of his shutouts this season on that day.

Daniel Alfredsson has 12 points, while linemate Dany Heatley has scored seven of his 15 goals on Saturdays. Heatley also is riding a season-long 17-game points streak.

Even Chris Neil, who entered the season with 24 goals and 572 penalty minutes in 222 career games, has scored a goal in all five of the Saturday contests.

The Senators avoided their first losing streak of the season with a 4-1 victory Thursday over the Florida Panthers. Alfredsson scored two power-play goals 20 seconds apart in the third period as Ottawa ended a 1-for-27 drought on the power play that spanned more than three games.

"We knew it was going to be a fight all the way to the end. They play really smart and within their strengths, it was tough to get anything going," said Alfredsson, who has 12 goals and 12 assists during his 10-game points streak. "We did a good job of staying patient and waiting for our opportunities."

The Devils have won three of their last four games after a 5-3 victory Friday over the Montreal Canadiens. Brian Gionta had two power-play goals and assisted on a third for New Jersey, which has won its last two games at Ottawa.

The diminutive Gionta has been more than willing to take the checks standing in front of the net to re-direct shots on the power play. He scored both his goals in that method Friday and has scored eight of his 12 goals with New Jersey on the man advantage.

"When you're up against a good team, you try to better their intensity," said Gionta, whose team will have played the top two teams from the Northeast Division on consecutive nights. "With a good team like that, you have to play on the edge."

Scott Gomez, who added a goal and two assists, has three goals and five assists in a four-game points streak.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 18): Devils - 18 points, 3rd place (tied), 5 PB, Atlantic Division. Senators - 28 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Gionta, 12 goals and 20 points; Gomez, 11 assists; Jamie Langenbrunner, 24 PIM. Senators - Alfredsson, 18 goals and 34 points; Jason Spezza, 24 assists; Brian McGrattan, 53 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 18): Devils - Power play: 21.3 percent (23 for 108), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (87 for 102), 6th. Senators - Power play: 19.1 percent (22 for 115), 11th. Penalty killing: 85.5 percent (95 for 111), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Martin Brodeur (7-6-0, 0 SO, 3.42 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (2-2-2, 0, 3.32). Senators - Hasek (10-3-0, 3, 1.83); Ray Emery (4-0-0, 0, 2.47).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Devils, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 3, 2004; Devils, 2-1. At East Rutherford, N.J., Brodeur made 23 saves and Jeff Friesen scored the game-winning goal with 6:13 to play.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 3-4-1 on the road; Senators - 8-2-0 at home.

Associated Press
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