OTTAWA, Ontario -- Nick Paul and Connor Brown each had a goal and an assist, Matt Murray stopped 32 shots, and the Ottawa Senators beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 Monday night.
Nick Holden and Adam Gaudette also scored for the Senators, who won for the second time in three games.
Holden credited Murray for the victory.
“I think he’s the reason we won that game,” Holden said. “The first two periods, I don’t think we played very good. We gave them a lot of opportunities, but (Murray) was there to shut the door to make sure we had the lead and kept it.”
The week will be a busy one for the Senators with five games in seven nights. It also marked the start of a four-game homestand, although the Senators remain restricted to just 500 fans in Canadian Tire Centre.
Getting the week off with a win in the first game after the All-Star break was big.
“To get a win in the first game, especially on the back-to-back, it’s nice,” said Holden. “I think our focus is just like I said about playing consistently. Sometimes it’s not always about wins and losses for us just because we need to make sure that we’re building that as a team. That consistent night after night after night, same game and so on. Obviously to get a win and I think for morale that helps going into tomorrow.”
Nico Hischier scored for the Devils, and Nico Daws finished with 20 saves. New Jersey has lost seven straight — all in regulation — and 10 of its last 11.
“(We) got off to a great start, scored on a power-play goal, didn’t give up a lot for 40 minutes,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “But we left some chances out there and I’ve said this before, we have to score more than one goal.”
Brown, who is playing with a broken jaw, returned after missing 10 games and scored midway through the third to make it 4-1.
The Devils had 10 shots in the third, but just couldn’t find a way to beat Murray.
“Nobody wants to be where we are,” Hischier said. “It’s on us. Nobody is going to do it for us. If you’re not going to dig in, it’s not going to get better.
“These little things we talk about before the games we don’t execute. These cost us goals and we just have to be harder in front of the net. We had good chances to score goals, but we (didn’t) score these dirty goals ... we have to be better, it’s simply not good enough.”
With the game tied 1-1 the Devils got off to a solid start in the second, but couldn’t find a way past the Senators’ goalie. Ottawa took a two-goal lead, scoring twice in a span of 9 seconds midway through the period to take control.
Nick Holden gave the Senators the lead as he beat Daws through traffic at 7:54, and Gaudette skated in off the ensuing faceoff and fired the puck past the goalie's blocker side to make it 3-1.
The game got off to a slow start, but it was the Devils who opened the scoring with 8:12 remaining in the period with a power-play goal as Hischier deflected a shot by Jesper Bratt.
Paul tied things up just over five minutes later as he took a feed in front and paused a moment to settle the puck, which seemed to throw Daws off.
NOTES: The Devils were without F Jack Hughes as he was placed in COVID-19 protocols following his participation at the NHL All-Star game. ... New Jersey D P.K. Subban played in his 800th regular season NHL game. ... Devils F Michael McLeod returned to the lineup after suffering an upper body injury Jan. 25. ... Senators C Dylan Gambrell and D Nikita Zaitsev also returned from injuries.
Devils: At Montreal on Tuesday night in the second of a three-game trip.
Senators: Host Carolina on Tuesday night to continue a four-game homestand.
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