GAME: New Jersey Devils (13-5-6-0) at Ottawa Senators (12-8-2-3).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Following a slow start, the Ottawa Senators are beginning to look like an
They'll get another chance to prove it when they face the defending champion
New Jersey Devils in the second meeting in four weeks between last season's
Eastern Conference finalists.
Seeing the Senators hover around .500 during much of November was one of the
league's biggest surprises, but a return to strong defensive play during a
three-game win streak appears to have them back on track.
Martin Prusek made 29 saves for his third straight win and Jason Spezza
scored twice, leading Ottawa to a 4-1 victory at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Bryan Smolinski and rookie Antoine Vermette also had goals for the Senators,
who have outscored opponents 12-2 during the three-game streak.
Prusek has stopped 90 of 92 shots in three wins while filling in for regular
starter Patrick Lalime, who has been sidelined by the flu.
"I think that Martin has stepped up since he has gotten a chance," Ottawa
coach Jacques Martin said. "He has made some pretty big saves and he has been
consistent, so you have to be pleased with how he has performed."
Captain Daniel Alfredsson assisted on Smolinski's goal, giving him three
goals and six assists during a seven-game point streak.
Ottawa was shut out by Martin Brodeur and the Devils 1-0 on Nov. 8 in the
first meeting between the teams since last season's conference finals. New
Jersey won that series in seven games before beating Anaheim to win the Stanley
The Devils ended a season-high four-game winless streak in convincing
fashion Thursday, limiting Washington to nine shots in a 3-0 victory.
Brodeur didn't need to do much in recording his NHL-leading fifth shutout of
the season and rookie defenseman Paul Martin had a goal and an assist in the
"Defensively, we were awesome," Brodeur said. "That's as good as a team
can play. I don't know how hard they competed against us but we don't care.
It's about how we play."
New Jersey, which has earned at least a point in 15 of its last 17 games
(11-2-4), has allowed a league-low 39 goals despite playing two rookie
defensemen -- Martin and David Hale.
"When you're good enough to play in this league, it's basically getting the
pace of the game," captain Scott Stevens said. "They're both playing well.
They're good kids to be around and work with. You don't see them like that much