The Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils have been two of the better teams in the league over the past three weeks. Judging by the recent matchups at Scotiabank Place, the Senators might have the better chance to keep their momentum going.
Ottawa will try to record its fourth consecutive home win over New Jersey and fifth in seven overall meetings Monday night.
Ottawa (19-15-5) is 6-2-1 over its last nine games and won 3-2 in a shootout at Buffalo on Saturday. Chris Neil scored one of the Senators' two second-period goals, and rookie Bobby Butler had the winning shot in the extra session.
It was the second time in as many nights Ottawa rallied for a victory. Daniel Alfredsson's 400th career goal finished off a comeback from an three-goal, first-period deficit Friday in a 4-3 overtime win over Calgary.
"It's a strength to always come back, but obviously we want to play with the lead a couple of times, too," defenseman Erik Karlsson said.
The Senators were on the wrong end of a comeback during a 5-4 shootout loss in New Jersey on Dec. 8. They failed to build on a 3-0 lead after 30 minutes but salvaged a point when Jesse Winchester scored with five seconds left in regulation.
Ottawa, though, might be in trouble should it fall behind again, as the Devils (21-15-1) are 7-2-0 in their last nine and have won four of five on the road.
"It was a good win against a team with a lot of firepower," Brodeur said. "I know I might feel good now, but I'm going to feel it later on. I think the penalty shot got us going and we played with the lead and played under control. I think as a unit, we all feel a lot more comfortable now."
Brodeur is 1-4-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average in his last six games against Ottawa and has received only 10 goals of support over those contests.
Brian Rolston scored the only goal for his team during a 3-1 defeat at Scotiabank on March 17, while Neil had a pair in the third period. Craig Anderson didn't start that game but might in this matchup. He has a 1.33 goals-against average in a personal three-game win streak over New Jersey.
If he starts this game, Anderson will try to get some more help from Milan Michalek, who has five goals in his last seven matchups with the Devils.
Michalek has a team-high 19 goals but only one to go with one assist over his last five games. Senators fans might not get a chance to welcome back Anton Volchenkov again.
The former Ottawa defenseman left in the second period of Saturday's game with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
"We'll see how he feels (Monday) morning," coach Peter DeBoer said.
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- Martin Brodeur