Devils shut down Sens

Devils shut down Sens
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators probably lost their best chance to move up in the standings when they lost 1-0 to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
The victory gave the sixth-place Devils 89 points and a five-point lead over the seventh-place Senators in the Eastern Conference.
It was also Ottawa’s fourth loss (two by shootout) in its last five games, perhaps even more worrisome for a team trying to peak for the playoffs.
“I think every game you lose is disappointing,” captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “I don’t know if I feel more for some than others, especially at this time of year.
“But I thought we did step up our play from the last few games. We skated a lot better (Tuesday) against a tight-checking team.
“I thought maybe we could have had a few more calls with us, but that’s the way it goes.”
The Senators will try to break the slump on Friday in Montreal against the Canadiens, followed by a Saturday night game at Scotiabank Place against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Coach Paul MacLean couldn’t fault his players for a lot, but said they have to work harder to get quality scoring chances.
“The defensive focus of the game is getting a little bit harder,” he said. “It’s a little bit harder to get (to the net) and you’ve got to work a little bit harder, so I think our determination and work ethic doesn’t have to get a whole lot better, but it has to get a little bit better.”
The Senators closed the game with a couple of power-play chances, including a 25-second two-man advantage, but couldn’t generate anything. In these minutes, said MacLean, they obviously missed the presence of Jason Spezza, who was out with the flu.
Ilya Kovalchuk, with his 31st goal of the season and the 400th of his career, scored for the Devils on a second-period power play after Zenon Konopka was sent off for kneeing Zach Parise.
Ben Bishop, making his seventh straight start in place of the injured Craig Anderson, wasn’t bad in stopping 33 of 34 shots.
But he was bested by New Jersey backup Johan Hedberg, who faced 34 shots.
It was the third time the Senators have been blanked this season.
The Senators were unlucky to get out of the first period tied 0-0.
They outshot the Devils, who were playing their third game in four nights, 15-9, and had an excellent chance when Erik Condra was hauled down on a breakaway by Anton Volchenkov and was awarded a penalty shot.
Condra tried to go five-hole, but Hedberg didn’t give him an opening.
“For 60 minutes we battled hard and kept to the game plan,” Erik Karlsson said. “But we couldn’t put the puck in the net and their goalie saved them a couple of times.
“We just have to keep shooting the puck and hopefully in a day or two it will go in.”

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