EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Squandering a three-goal third-period lead seemed to make the Ottawa Senators work harder.
The win gave the Senators a six-point lead over the Devils in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
“We needed it,” Bonk said. “They got a couple of goals on the power play and they got back in the game. It’s a credit to us that we never stopped working and got back at them.”
That’s been the norm for the Senators, who have beaten New Jersey in three of four games this season.
“There was a little drama, definitely,” said Hossa, who iced the game with an empty-net goal with 38 seconds left. “We took some penalties in the third and I spent most of that time sitting on the bench. That was tough but we found a way to win.”
“It’s very deflating,” Devils captain Scott Stevens said. “The only thing we can take out of it is we showed some character coming back against the best hockey club in the league right now.”
Nieuwendyk tied it with 7:44 to play with Magnus Arvedson off for high-sticking Jiri Bicek. The goal came after Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson was called for diving when it appeared he was taken down in center ice. That kept New Jersey on the power play.
The game appeared headed for overtime when Rachunek stopped a Stevens’ pass around the boards in the Devils zone and fired a shot at Martin Brodeur. Mike Fisher was stopped on the rebound of that shot, but Bonk had an open net to shoot at when the puck went to the other side.
“It got tipped in front and I couldn’t control the rebound,” Brodeur said. “The guy spun around and took another shot and I made that save and Bonk was all by himself. It’s the kind of break we’re not getting now.”
Hossa added his 38th goal after Brodeur left for a sixth skater.
The Senators seemed in total control, taking the lead after just 40 seconds on Havlat’s 19th goal. They opened the margin to 3-0 late in the second period when Shaun Van Allen set up Havlat for a breakaway.
Havlat, who had a goal and four assists in the first three games against New Jersey, got Ottawa going with a quick rush up the middle. He centered a pass through the crease and then stuffed the puck in when Van Allen’s shot came right back to him.
Hossa, who didn’t have a point in the first three games with New Jersey, scored less than eight minutes later. Havlat got his 20th goal when Van Allenmade a great pass through the neutral zone to set up the breakaway.
Senators D Chris Phillips’ got his first point in 11 games with an assist on Hossa’s first goal. … New Jersey’s three shots in the first period were one more than their season low for period. … Veteran Devils D Ken Daneyko was a healthy scratch. … Devils D Colin White injured a knee in thesecond period and didn’t return.