NEWARK, N.J. â€” The Ottawa Senators were without three top forwards Tuesday night, so they had to make up for it with defence and goaltending.
Craig Anderson made 29 saves and the Senators beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Tuesday night to stay within two points of Montreal in the race for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Ottawa was without Mark Stone (22 goals), Mike Hoffman (19 goals) and Bobby Ryan (12 goals) after all three were injured over the weekend. Ryan will miss 4-to-6 weeks with a broken finger, while Stone (neck) and Hoffman (groin) are day to day.
“I think it’s just our character that we stuck to the structure, everyone was on the same page,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t take talent to play defence and play your position. Usually the talented guys are your offensive minded, and gifted skilled guys. As far as the guys we have in our lineup right now, there’s still some skill there, but it starts with structure and taking care of the puck and frustrating the other team.”
The Senators have done that to the Devils all season. In sweeping their three-game series, Ottawa held New Jersey to two goals.
“Everybody stepped up; guys were just playing simple but making important plays that may not look like big plays at the time but we kept them from gaining momentum,” said Kyle Turris, who scored for Ottawa along with defenceman Erik Karlsson.
Turris played a game-high 26:09, while centre Derick Brassard logged 20:06.
“Sometimes when you lose people that play a lot of minutes you know someone else is going to have to fill that spot,” Karlsson said. “I think tonight, we really embraced it and everyone here wanted to do that job.”
Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey and Cory Schneider made 21 saves. The Devils have lost two in a row, three of four and are six points out of a playoff spot.
“We’re not in the best spot, but we have to keep finding a way to win games and compete and keep ourselves relevant in the race,” Schneider said. “Again, it is going to take a lot now, but we can’t stop.”
Turris gave the Senators the lead 59 seconds into the second period after the Devils twice failed to get the puck out of their own end. The centre fired the puck behind the New Jersey goal line, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau retrieved it and found Ryan Dzingel in the left circle. He sent a cross-ice pass to Turris for a shot into an open net for his 20th goal.
Karlsson has points in six straight games after stretching the lead to 2-0 early in the third period with a power-play goal from the left circle. He beat a screened Schneider over the shoulder.
With Tom Pyatt off for delay of game, Zajac got the Devils within a goal, putting a rebound of Joseph Blandisi’s shot into an open net at 6:37.
Anderson, whose wife Nicolle is battling throat cancer, was outstanding in the first two periods. He stopped deflections by Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson in the first period and shots in close in each of the first two periods by Mike Cammalleri, who returned to the lineup after being benched for two games.
He stopped a deflection by Zajac in close in the final minute.
NOTES: The Devils activated D Kyle Quincey (upper body) off injured reserve after he missed six games. D John Moore was a healthy scratch. … The Senators called up Fs Max McCormick and Casey Bailey from Binghamton (AHL) to replace Hoffman and Stone. … New Jersey F Beau Bennett was a healthy scratch. … Devils F Pavel Zacha did not return for the third period with an upper-body injury.
Senators: Play the second of a four-game road trip at Carolina on Friday night.
Devils: Host the cross-river rival Rangers on Saturday.
Tom Canavan, The Associated Press