Senators oust listless Devils
The Ottawa Senators secured their place in the Eastern Conference final with a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 Saturday night in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Senators have won their best-of-seven series 4-1 and are advancing to the Conference final for the first time since 2003.
Ottawa's top line of captain Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley combined for six points, while goaltender Ray Emery made27 saves in the victory.
"We took a lot of pride trying to make sure we carried the offensive load in this series," Spezza told Hockey Night In Canada.
New Jersey centre Scott Gomez, who sits tied with Heatley for the post-season scoring lead with 14 points, netted both goals for the Devils.
The Senators await the winner of the Buffalo Sabres-New York Rangers matchup.
Buffalo leads its Eastern Conference semifinal 3-2 and can eliminate the Rangers with a victory at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon (2 p.m. ET).
Emery apologetic after traffic accident
The Senators goaltender managed to put in a steady performance Saturday despite a traffic accident in Ottawa on Friday afternoon that made him miss his flight to New Jersey.
Emery was heading to the Ottawaairportwhen he dinged his white Hummer H2. He was uninjured and signed autographs after the accident, but was forced to take a commercial flight.
He was charged under the Highway Traffic Act and issued an $85 ticket for making an unsafe lane change, according to the Ottawa Sun.
Emery said the incident made him even more determined to put in a good performance on Saturday.
"It definitely made me want to win more: I felt bad for distracting the boys and taking the focus off the team," Emery said.
"I'm glad I got a chance to play and I'm glad the boys came through for me. They played well despite the distraction."
Gomez opens scoring
The Devils opened the scoring at 6:59 of the first period on Gomez's third goal of the post-season. After winning the draw, Gomez followed the play to the Ottawa net and beat Emery off his own rebound.
However, the Senators took over in the second period with three unanswered goals.
Ottawa tied the game 1-1 five minutes into the period following a turnover by New Jersey defenceman Richard Matvichuk.
Centre Antoine Vermette redirected a shot by defenceman Tom Preissing that trickled between the legs of Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.
Spezza gives Ottawa the lead
The Senators continued to pressure New Jersey, resulting in a power-goal at 12:06. Spezza patiently moved to the top of the face-off circle and then snapped a shot over Brodeur's left shoulder, giving Ottawa a 2-1 advantage.
Alfredsson's sixth post-season goal put Ottawa ahead 3-1 with less than three minutes remaining in the second. The Senators captain broke in on the left wing before beating Brodeur with a wrist shot.
Emery said the victory over New Jersey has finally taken the label of playoff failure off the team.
"The team has taking a bad rap in the playoffs," hesaid. "The guys who have taken the bad rap like [Alfredsson] are the guys who are stepping up. They're driven to take this team to the ultimate goal."
Gomez added a cosmetic goal with40 seconds remaining in the third, but the Devils would not challenge Emery again.
Brodeur, who struggled throughout the series, finished the night making only 21 saves.
There were reports that Brodeur was bothered by an injury, but the veteran goaltender put them to rest.
"All these people try to make excuses, but it's not something that bothered me to alter my game," Brodeur said. "You have to give them credit. Their depth is amazing. It came down to the plays they made and the ones we didn't make.
"Some of the leaders — myself included — weren't up to par to what they brought to the table as far as their top line and power play went. In the end, it was the big difference."