for this game

Senators edge Devils, advance to conference finals

May 6, 2007 - 4:11 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Ottawa Senators are going to the Eastern Conference finals. The New Jersey Devils are going to Newark.

Antoine Vermette, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson scored in a dominant second period as the Senators rallied for a 3-2 victory Saturday in the Devils' final game at Continental Airlines Arena.

The win pushed Ottawa into the conference finals - where they will face either the Presidents' Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres or the sixth-seeded New York Rangers - for the second time in four seasons. The Senators lost a seventh game on home ice to the Devils in 2003.

"I thought we had the deeper team," Alfredsson said. "You always face different challenges, and there's a lot of things that can happen with injuries and whatnot. We're just very happy with where we are now. We're going to use the few days we get off here and set up a game plan."

"We don't want to stop there," Spezza added. "We want to keep going. We're only halfway home."

New Jersey can pack its bags not only for the summer, but also for Newark, where it will open the Prudential Center for the start of the 2007-08 season. Among the Devils' memories from this building are three successful Stanley Cup championship runs, including clinching wins in 1995 and 2003.

"I've definitely become part of New Jersey," said Gomez, an impending free agent who scored both Devils' goals and has played his entire career with the team. "I grew up on the West Coast as far as you can (Alaska), and to come here and grow up in this environment, the people here are awesome. It's a good place, the building. So many memories."

With their team trailing, 1-0, after 20 minutes, Vermette, Spezza and Alfredsson scored in a span of just over 12 minutes as the Senators played perhaps their best period of the season. Vermette tied the game at 5:19, Spezza netted a power-play goal at 12:06 and Alfredsson tallied at 17:28.

A rare occurrence - a penalty on Selke Trophy finalist Jay Pandolfo - gave the Senators their first power play just past the game's midway point, and Spezza took advantage, beating goaltender Martin Brodeur to the glove side with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot for the go-ahead goal.

Pandolfo committed just four penalties in 82 regular-season games, but the infraction was his second in 11 contests this postseason. He was called for just three in his first 108 career playoff games.

"I couldn't stop myself from running into the goalie a little bit," Pandolfo said. "I just barely touched the goalie, he acts like I hit him hard and falls down, and I get a penalty."

After winning the first five postseason contests in which they scored first, the Devils got on the board first again in this one at 6:59 of the first period. Gomez grabbed his own rebound off a tip-in attempt at the top of the crease and steered it around the blocker side of netminder Ray Emery.

Midway through the period, Emery got his pads on a slap shot to deny Erik Rasmussen's breakaway attempt. Roughly three minutes later, captain Patrik Elias found himself alone at the bottom of the left circle, but Emery dived from the other side of the net to block the shot and covered the puck before Brian Gionta could sweep it in.

With just under six minutes left in the first, Dany Heatley was whistled for interference, giving the Senators as many penalties as shots on goal at that mark. The infraction seemed to inspire Ottawa, which carried the play for the remainder of the period and wiped out New Jersey in the second, outshooting the Devils by a 19-9 margin.

"The intermission woke us up," Spezza said. "We talked in the room like, 'We're not going to beat these guys if we play like we played in the first period.' We went out and had two great periods."

The Senators had just three shots in the opening session but four quality offerings in the first three-plus minutes of the second. Unlike in Games Three and Four, New Jersey quickly countered Ottawa's offensive chances with good opportunities of its own, but it could not add to the 1-0 lead.

"We came out in the second period and really answered them," said Emery, who finished with 27 saves. "Those guys coming through the way they did in the second period is a boost. We knew we were well capable of holding them off, and we went out and did that."

Ottawa broke through just over five minutes in as Vermette, from the top of the crease, redirected defenseman Tom Preissing's shot from along the right wing boards and watched the puck trickle past Brodeur and over the goal line. Vermette kept alive the possession by knocking down rookie David Clarkson's clearing attempt.

"When you don't have the momentum, you have to get it back as quickly as you can," Alfredsson said. "Obviously, the first goal for us tonight was huge."

After Spezza gave the Senators the lead with his goal, he sent Alfredsson into the offensive zone. The captain beat Brodeur from the same spot with a wrist shot that found its way between the legs of both defenseman Colin White and the Hart and Vezina Trophy finalist.

Despite trailing by two tallies, the Devils could not muster their initial shot of the third period until 14:18 remained, when Emery turned aside Gionta's slapper from the top of the slot.

Gomez made things interesting with his fourth playoff goal, roofing a shot from the right side of the crease following a scramble in front with 40 seconds remaining and Brodeur pulled for an extra attacker. But New Jersey never recorded another shot against Emery.

"You never accept losing, otherwise you wouldn't be playing this game," said Elias, the Devils' captain. "You work too hard to put yourself in the situation. You never know when you're going to get another chance to be here. We felt like we had a special team. We don't accept anything but winning."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 3 0 3
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 6:59
    2ND PRD: OTT - ANTOINE VERMETTE 2 (TOM PREISSING) 5:19
    OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 5 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON, DANY HEATLEY)
    12:06
    OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 6 (JASO

    May 5 10:32 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 3
    NEW JERSEY 2
    3RD PRD: NJD - SCOTT GOMEZ 4 (JOHN MADDEN, ZACH PARISE) 19:20 (WITH
    EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Senators vs. DevilsMay 5 10:31 PM
  • 20
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots

    Senators vs. DevilsMay 5 10:31 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 3 3
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 6:59
    2ND PRD: OTT - ANTOINE VERMETTE 2 (TOM PREISSING) 5:19
    OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 5 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON) 12:06
    OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 6 (JASON

    May 5 9:41 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 3
    NEW JERSEY 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - DANIEL ALFREDSSON 6 (JASON SPEZZA) 17:28

    Senators vs. DevilsMay 5 9:37 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 2
    NEW JERSEY 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) JASON SPEZZA 5 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON) 12:06

    Senators vs. DevilsMay 5 9:25 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 1
    NEW JERSEY 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - ANTOINE VERMETTE 2 (TOM PREISSING) 5:19

    Senators vs. DevilsMay 5 9:15 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 6:59
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 3 3
    NJD 11 11
    GOALIES: OTT - RAY EMERY

    May 5 8:46 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 0
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - SCOTT GOMEZ 3 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 6:59

    Senators vs. DevilsMay 5 8:25 PM