Lee Stempniak lifts Devils past Senators, 5-4
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Lee Stempniak grabbed two points in the standings for the New Jersey Devils.
Stempniak tied it with 32 seconds left in regulation and added the shootout winner in the Devils’ 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
”We’re a team that’s got to fight for every inch and there’s not very high expectations for us, but in the room we believe we’re capable of a lot more than what people expect from us,” Stempniak said. ”I think that our mentality is just to go out and play until the final buzzer and that came through tonight.”
Travis Zajac, Jordin Tootoo and Adam Henrique also scored, and Cory Schneider made 35 saves to help the Devils improve to 3-3-1.
Chris Neil, playing his 900th NHL game, and Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith and Mika Zibanejad scored for Ottawa. Andrew Hammond made 28 saves in his season debut. The Senators are 3-2-2.
Henrique pulled New Jersey within a goal with 5:50 to go, scoring off a rebound.
”We handed them the third goal,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said. ”You can’t give teams a freebie and they got it.”
New Jersey’s Stephen Gionta received a major penalty and game misconduct for spearing Mark Borowiecki late in the second period, and Ottawa connected on the power play in the third. Hoffman scored his fourth of the season from the point at 2:24 of the third to give the Senators a 3-2 lead. Neil made it 4-2 at 6:38.
Zajac opened the scoring on a two-man advantage in the first period. The Senators tied it less than a minute later when Zibanejad intercepted Eric Gelinas’ pass and beat Schneider for his first career short-handed goal. Tootoo gave New Jersey the lead with 1:30 later with another power-play goal.
Smith tied it midway through the second.
”It’s disappointing not getting the two points out of that,” Neil said. ”We fought and clawed our way back into the game after two power-play goals and thought we did a good job for the most part of shutting them down. The late goal hurt us and it could have went either way at the end. The frustrating part is the two points.”
Notes: Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot remains day-to-day with a concussion, while left winger Clarke MacArthur missed his third straight game because of a concussion. … New Jersey’s Jon Merrill missed the game due to illness, and right-winger Tuomo Ruutu is out with an undisclosed injury.