The Senators will try to carry over that postseason success against New Jersey and continue their hot start when they host the Devils on Monday.
Ottawa (3-0-0) and New Jersey (1-1-0) met in last season’s conference semifinals, won by the Senators in five games. However, four of the games in the series were decided by one goal.
Ottawa, which advanced to its first Stanley Cup final before losing to Anaheim in five games, has gotten off to a strong start this year, outscoring opponents 9-5 while winning its first three games.
Martin Gerber stopped 35 shots for his eighth career shutout on Saturday as the Senators beat the New York Rangers 2-0. Gerber, who hadn’t recorded a shutout since Feb. 14, has been in net for all of Ottawa’s wins while starting goalie Ray Emery recovers from offseason wrist surgery.
“Everybody said that you can’t have two No. 1 goalies, it takes up a lot of cap room, but it’s a good comfort to have,” said right wing Daniel Alfredsson, who had a goal and an assist. “Both of them, we know what they can do and it’s obviously nice for Marty to see him playing this well when we need him to.”
Gerber, who dressed for each of the Senators’ 20 playoff games last spring without making an appearance, hasn’t given up a goal in 20 power-play opportunities for Ottawa’s opponents.
Alfredsson, meanwhile, has carried the Ottawa offense with a league high-tying four goals.
He also has 11 goals and 18 assists in 41 career regular-season games against the Devils. Including the playoff series, the veteran had five goals and four assists in nine games against New Jersey last season.
He’ll try to continue his stellar play as Ottawa looks to open with four straight wins for the second time in three years. The Senators opened 6-0-0 in 2005-06, en route to a franchise record-tying 52 victories and the Northeast Division title.
While the Senators won the postseason series against the Devils last year, New Jersey went 3-1-0 against Ottawa in the regular season.
After dropping their season opener against Tampa Bay, the Devils rebounded with a 4-1 win at Florida on Saturday, thanks in part to center John Madden’s first two goals of the year.
“It feels good,” Madden said. “It usually takes me a lot longer than that to get going.”
It also marked the first NHL coaching victory for Brent Sutter, whom New Jersey hired in July.
“I don’t get caught up in that as far as myself,” said Sutter, the team’s eighth different coach since the beginning of the 1997-98 season. “The main thing is I want these players to have success.”
No coach has both started and finished the season at the helm for the Devils since Pat Burns did it in 2003-04.