Though New Jersey outlasted Ottawa in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals last season, and took the first two meetings this season, the Senators manhandled the Devils 4-0 at the Meadowlands on Jan. 13.
“They’re a team we really want,” New Jersey coach Pat Burns said. “The last time, they embarrassed us so we’re going to have some motivation.”
It helps that the Devils are playing much better of late, which wasn’t the case three weeks ago. That defeat to the Senators gave the Devils three losses in four games.
The Devils have been playing a lot more like Stanley Cup champs of late, winning six of eight (6-2), including a 4-1 victory at St. Louis on Saturday. Martin Brodeur finished with 30 saves for New Jersey.
Ottawa had won three of four before losing 5-1 at Toronto on Saturday.
The Senators, who entered the game with the top-ranked power play in the league, couldn’t take advantage of the man-advantage against Toronto, finishing 1-for-14.
“We weren’t ready for them (Saturday) night,” Ottawa winger Chris Neil said. “They wanted first place and the two points more than we did.”
Ottawa could have jumped over Toronto into first place in the Northeast Division with a win, but instead fell to 1-2 on its four-game road trip.
The loss was also costly in terms of injuries as both Jason Spezza (left knee) and Antoine Vermette (left shoulder) will miss Tuesday’s game. The Senators are listing both as day-to-day as the seriousness of each injury will not be known until after further tests.