The Ottawa Senators were thankful to get two points from the New Jersey Devils on Monday.
Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner for Ottawa in a 3-2 victory over New Jersey.
”It’s certainly not our prettiest win,” Ottawa’s Chris Phillips said. ”At the end of the day, at the end of the season that’s a big two points for us. They’re right on our heels in the standings.”
The Senators beat the Devils 2-1 in a shootout Feb. 18.
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur was frustrated after Monday’s loss.
”We worked really hard and deserved a lot better,” Brodeur said. ”They won the skill competition again, two games in a row against us.”
Zibanejad was pleased to be selected for the shootout and saw it as a sign that Ottawa’s coaching staff has more confidence in his abilities.
”Obviously you want to take that chance and show they made the right choice,” said the 19-year-old center. ”You’ve just got to make sure you take the chance you get.”
Phillips and Colin Greening also scored for the Senators, who got 32 saves from Ben Bishop. Captain Daniel Alfredsson also scored in the shootout for Ottawa. Bishop is 4-0 in the shootout this season.
Andrei Loktionov and Marek Zidlicky scored for the Devils as Brodeur faced 14 shots.
Senators coach Paul MacLean didn’t excuse his team’s poor performance for much of the game.
”We played way too much of the game in our end,” MacLean said. ”I thought they were way better than we were for the majority of the game.
”At the end of the day we did enough to win the game.”
Devils coach Peter DeBoer would have liked to have seen his team’s effort rewarded with two points, but had no problem with the team coming out on the losing end of the shootout.
”It was a gutsy effort by us,” DeBoer said. ”I don’t look at any points as disappointing. It’s a tough building. I thought our guys played their hearts out and deserved better, but we’ll take the point and keep moving forward here.”
New Jersey tied the game 2-2 at 6:05 of the third period as Zidlicky beat Bishop with a wrist shot from the left circle.
After overtime, Alfredsson scored on Ottawa’s second shootout attempt. The Devils’ Travis Zajac tied it 1-1, then Zibanejad’s goal and Bishop’s save on Loktionov ended the game.
Despite being outplayed and outshot 12-4 for much of the second, the Senators managed to escape the period leading 2-1.
The Devils tied the game after Loktionov was able to find the puck during a scramble in front of Bishop, but Greening regained the lead, scoring with just 17 seconds remaining in the period.
Kyle Turris beat the Devils defense with a shot and Greening jumped on the rebound to beat Brodeur stick side.
”Tonight wasn’t our best hockey by far,” Bishop said. ”I don’t think we played our best, the last five minutes especially. We turned too many pucks over.”
Ottawa jumped to an early 1-0 lead scoring just two minutes into the game as Phillips picked up his fifth of the season.
”It’s one of those streaks, records that I can’t really explain why,” Phillips said. ”I can’t explain why it happens or why it’s so favorable, but it’s been fun.”
Zibanejad won the faceoff in the Devils end, got it to Mike Lundin who passed it to Phillips whose wrist shot beat Brodeur.
Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar had his 10-game point streak come to an end Monday.
Notes: The Senators signed forward Buddy Robinson to a three-year contract Monday. C Jim O’Brien, LW Kaspars Daugavins and D Andre Benoit were a healthy scratch for the Senators. Ottawa is without G Craig Anderson (ankle sprain, indefinite), D Erik Karlsson (Achilles, out for season), C Jason Spezza (upper body injury, indefinite), LW Milan Michalek (knee, indefinite), D Jared Cowen (hip, out for season). … The Devils are without C Dainius Zubrus (wrist surgery, 2-4 weeks), D Henrik Tallinder (lower body, injured reserve), RW Ilya Kovalchuk (sprained shoulder, indefinite), LW Alexei Ponikarovsky (lower body, indefinite). RW Krystofer Barch and D Mark Fayne were a healthy scratch for the Devils.