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Devils face big test as deadlocked series shifts to Senators' home

The Canadian Press
By:
The Hockey News
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Devils face big test as deadlocked series shifts to Senators' home

The Canadian Press
By:

After dropping the opener 5-4, the Devils needed a double overtime goal from Jamie Langenbrunner to defeat Ottawa 3-2 on Saturday night to even the best-of-seven NHL Eastern Conference semifinal 1-1.

Game 3 is Monday night at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m ET), with Game 4 on Wednesday.

"We didn't play our best hockey yet and we got back in the series, so these are the sort of positive things we're going to take from the first two games," goaltender Martin Brodeur said Sunday.

"It was huge. Being (down) 2-0 or 1-1 going into the other team's building - that says it all right there."

Since shooting out to a 4-0 lead in the first period of the series opener, the Senators have been outscored 7-3, but came out of New Jersey feeling they could have a 2-0 series lead.

"We knew we had to win a game in their building and we won one, but we had a chance to win that game (Saturday night)," said Ottawa coach Bryan Murray. "I'd much prefer that."

The Senators had an optional skate, while the Devils held only a meeting after arriving in late afternoon Sunday.

They found Ottawa abuzz with debate over New Jersey's second goal, scored by Sergei Brylin off a faceoff taken with 2.7 seconds remaining in the opening period. Brylin's shot went in with 0.2 of a second remaining on the clock.

Ottawa coach Bryan Murray, who argued with on-ice officials after the goal, said it was verified on video that the timekeeper started the clock about 0.7 of a second late, so the period should have ended before the puck went in.

"We knew the clock didn't start - that's why I called the ref," said Murray. "We shouldn't be worrying about times and people of that nature any more with the technology we have.

"But the bottom line is the league told the referees that human error is part of what we do here and we just have to live with it."

Devils coach Lou Lamoriello said: "I didn't notice that, nor did I look for that, nor would think that that was done."

The NHL used to rotate off-ice officials between cities to ensure impartiality in the past, but stopped that practice last year, so the time keeper would have been from New Jersey.

When asked if he felt a more scientific system should be in place to keep time, Lamoriello said: "If you could come up with a suggestion I'd like to hear it, because it's a human hand that's dropping the puck and it's a human hand that's putting the clock on."

"We went through that with (last-second) goals being scored and now we have fractions of a second, so if there's a better way to do it...I don't have that answer."

The Brylin goal, scored during a two-man advantage, gave New Jersey a 2-0 lead, but Ottawa was able to battle back, tying the game with 27 left in regulation time on a Dany Heatley goal.

"We never lost our poise - I think the character was exceptional," said Lamoriello. "We just kept playing.

"It came down to who was going to get a break. We got it and took advantage of it."

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Devils face big test as deadlocked series shifts to Senators' home