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Elias powers Devils past Senators

by John Kreiser
The Ottawa Senators' new line combinations were no match for the New Jersey Devils.

Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg broke up the "Pizza Line" of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley in an effort to give the struggling Senators a jolt. Instead, he watched New Jersey's Patrik Elias score two goals and set up two others as the surging Devils rolled to an easy 5-1 win at the Prudential Center on Friday night, the 11th victory in their last 14 games.

While the Senators are struggling to score, let alone win, Elias and the Devils have been doing both. Elias extended his points streak to nine games and has 11 goals and 27 points in his last 15.

"The team is playing well," Elias said. "Sometimes you go through these streaks. We just have to keep it going. I'm having fun out there, making plays. When they go in, they go in. When they don't, I'll just keep working the same way."

Devils coach Brent Sutter said Elias is using his speed to make life tough for opposing defenses.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence," Sutter said. "He's taken his game to a level that everybody would like to see. His work ethic has always been good. He's moving his feet more. He's doing things at top speed, and he's reading situations so well."

Brian Gionta, Johnny Oduya and Travis Zajac also scored for the Devils, while Zach Parise had his second four-assist game in eight days. Scott Clemmensen stopped 24 shots to improve to 10-1-1 in his last 12 decisions.

"It was a good effort by everybody tonight," said Parise, who has 36 points in his last 26 games. "It was one of those nights where I was putting pucks on sticks and they were putting them in."

The Devils continued their recent trend of getting off to fast starts when Gionta tipped Paul Martin's point shot past Alex Auld 40 seconds into the game. It was the third straight game in which New Jersey scored in the first two minutes, setting a team record.

Oduya scored on a power play at 14:28 when he raced in from the left point, took Parise's perfect pass and beat Auld. Elias got the second assist on both goals, extending his points streak. It also was his 169th multipoint game, tying John MacLean's team record.

Jarkko Ruutu scored a shorthanded goal at 8:37 of the second period to make it 2-1. It was just the fifth goal in five games for the Senators, who weren't helped by the line change as they lost their ninth game in a row away from Scotiabank Place.

"We struggled early on in the first period," Alfredsson said. "We didn't move the puck well at all. We got better as it went on. We were working really hard but obviously we're not getting any bounces. The effort was there. With the puck, we're not good enough."

The Devils reclaimed the two-goal lead at 3-1 in the closing seconds of the period when Elias knocked in Parise's rebound for New Jersey's second power-play score. Zajac scored at 12:09 of the third before Elias' closed it out at 14:39 with New Jersey's third power-play goal of the game.

The Senators, who host Dallas on Saturday before beginning an eight-game road trip, fell to 1-4-1 in their last six games.

"It's about the attitude and having to work for everything we are going to get," Hartsburg said. "I thought we worked harder tonight, but obviously, it's not enough. We can't accept it. We've got to keep pushing forward to get better."

Material from wire services was used in this report

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