OTTAWA – Brian Elliott is playing so well, even the NHL’s leader in career wins can’t keep up with him.
Elliott made 24 saves to win his fifth straight start, and the Ottawa Senators chased superstar goaltender Martin Brodeur from the New Jersey net in a 3-0 victory over the Devils on Tuesday.
The Senators (29-21-4) won their seventh straight riding the success of Elliott who earned his third shutout of the season. won his fifth consecutive start.
Elliott, recently named the NHL’s first star of the week, wasn’t tested often but managed to come up big when needed.
“That was a team shutout,” said Elliott. “Everybody just did a good job in front of me. They really didn’t have anything and that makes it a lot easier on you in the net.”
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire felt his team didn’t challenge Elliott.
“All our plays, they had hesitation,” said Lemaire. “We’re not skating the way we can skate and when that happens we’re not as good with the puck, we don’t create as well. We didn’t get a lot of chances and most of them we made it easy for the goalie, we made it very easy.”
Ottawa, winless against the Devils since October 27, 2007, came out with a solid effort and took a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Alex Kovalev and Milan Michalek.
Jason Spezza also scored for Ottawa in his second game after missing the last 20 due to injury.
While Brodeur has owned the Senators of late, he was far from his best on Tuesday, allowing three goals on just 12 shots.
Yann Danis started the third for the Devils (34-16-1), who pulled Brodeur for the third time in ten games.
Lemaire said Brodeur was pulled because he will be playing against the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night. He wasn’t about to fault Brodeur considering how the team played in front of him.
As for the Senators, they were only too happy to finally solve Brodeur.
“We got some really timely goals from guys,” said Ottawa’s Nick Foligno. “One of our focuses going into the game was making sure we got the lead and when we got that goal we fed off of it and went from there.”
Kovalev opened the scoring midway through the first after taking a great feed from Foligno and beat Brodeur with a wrist shot.
The Senators appeared to go ahead 2-0 on a Jonathan Cheechoo goal, but it was called off as it was ruled Cheechoo kicked the puck in.
Ottawa made up for it with less than two minutes remaining in the period when Michalek tipped in Chris Campoli’s shot from the blue-line.
Spezza made it 3-0 late in the second, tipping in Filip Kuba’s shot for his seventh of the season and second in as many games.
“Things are going well for us,” said Spezza. “Winning breeds confidence and you can tell we’re playing with confidence.”
The Senators will look to make it eight Thursday night in Pittsburgh. The last time the Senators won eight straight was back in 2007 (Oct. 13-Nov 6) under then head coach John Paddock.
Notes: Ottawa D Chris Campoli played his 300th NHL game. The Senators were without C Jesse Winchester (right knee, mid-February), G Pascal Leclaire (concussion, indefinite). D Alexandre Picard and LW Shean Donovan were a healthy scratch for the Senators. The Devils were without D Paul Martin (broken left arm, early February), RW David Clarkson (right leg, two weeks), LW Patrik Elias (concussion, early February) and C Rod Pelley (lower body, two weeks). New Jersey’s RW Ilkka Pikkarainen, RW Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and RW Vladimir Zharkov were healthy scratches.