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Brian Gionta scores twice in Devils' 3-2 win over Senators

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Brian Gionta scores twice in Devils' 3-2 win over Senators

The Canadian Press
By:

Brodeur and his teammates were still embarrassed by an early season pasting they suffered at the hands of the Senators in their last visit to Ottawa, way back on Oct. 21.

Despite beating the Senators at home since then, they were still out to make amends and did it with a 3-2 victory before a sold-out crowd of 19,548.

Brian Gionta scored two goals and Brodeur, who was pulled in the October blowout, stopped 33 of 35 shots to earn the game's first-star honours.

"We thought about it," said Brodeur, who picked up his league-high 24th win of the season. "You try to step up your game when one of those happens.

"Revenge was definitely on our minds. We beat them in New Jersey, but it was in this building that we wanted to beat them. We didn't embarrass them, but we won."

Zach Parise had the other goal for the Devils (24-13-4) and Scott Gomez added a pair of assists.

Gionta's first goal gave New Jersey a first-period lead and his second stood up as the eventual winner in a tight game.

"I think everyone here was embarrassed (by the October loss)," Gionta said. "It sticks with you. I think everyone wanted to come back here and have a better effort and we did."

Ray Emery also had a good game at the other end of the rink, making 26 saves, but New Jersey won for the second straight game and fifth time in its past six outings - its only loss coming in a shootout to the New York Rangers in that stretch.

Brodeur's strong performance prevented Ottawa (22-19-2), winner of five of its past six games heading into Saturday, from picking up at least a point for the first time in its past seven contests.

"That's how they play," Emery said. "They get the leads and try to shut it down. That was kind of the case today."

Patrick Eaves ended a long personal goal-scoring drought with his first marker in 17 games for the Senators and Tom Preissing scored late in the third, but that was as close Ottawa could get.

"(Brodeur) was on top of his game," Eaves said. "They played the typical hockey that they're known to play. We just came up a little bit short."

Both teams are right back in action on Sunday. Ottawa is at home to Philadelphia, while the Devils travel to Montreal.

New Jersey went ahead in the first when Parise took a pass from Travis Zajac and beat Emery from close range, but the Senators took advantage of a New Jersey turnover to tie the game later in the period on Eaves' first goal since Dec. 2.

Gionta redirected Hale's point shot to restore the Devils' lead early in the second and Brodeur made several big saves afterward, thwarting Senators snipers Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson on several occasions.

Ottawa had a chance for the equalizer with a power play midway through the third, but Brodeur, with Chris Neil repeatedly in his face, stopped Peter Schaefer on a couple of chances.

Gionta made it 3-1 with 3½ minutes left, taking a pass from Gomez in the slot and beating Emery before Preissing scored from a scramble with 78 seconds left, but New Jersey held on.

"Obviously Marty back there helped out a lot," Gionta said. "The third period, he stood on his head for us."

Notes: With forwards Mike Fisher (knee), Jason Spezza (knee) and Antoine Vermette (hip) all out with injuries, the Senators recalled centre Josh Hennessy from AHL Binghamton for the game. ... Devils defenceman Brian Rafalski appeared in his 500th NHL contest. ... Centre Erik Rasmussen returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in five of New Jersey's past seven games. ... Devils defencemen Colin White and Johnny Oduya (both upper-body injuries) missed the game. ... Blue-liner Mark Fraser, an Ottawa native, made his NHL debut for New Jersey.

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Brian Gionta scores twice in Devils' 3-2 win over Senators