A productive homestand gave the Ottawa Senators the Northeast Division lead. They hope to carry that success to the road Wednesday, when they begin a challenging stretch against the New Jersey Devils.
The Senators (12-6-3) have played 15 of 21 games at home, going 9-3-3 at Scotiabank Place to grab a one-point lead over Boston and Buffalo. Ottawa plays six of its next seven on the road, a stretch that features a five-game trip with four contests against Pacific Division opponents.
Coach Cory Clouston's team went 4-0-1 on its just-completed homestand, winning the last four and rallying for a 4-3 overtime win against Washington on Monday. Mike Fisher scored 1:14 into the extra period for the Senators, who overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period.
"We've been elevating our game against top teams and that's a great sign," Fisher said.
Fisher's play has been an integral part of Ottawa's early success. A three-time 20-goal scorer, he slumped to 13 goals and 19 assists last season as the Senators missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
The second-line center, though, has three goals and four assists during Ottawa's winning streak to give him 10 goals and 11 assists overall.
Ottawa has not won five straight since March 14-22.
While the Senators look to get their bearings on the road, the Devils (14-6-1) are out to regroup from a disappointing trip as they play 10 of 12 at home. After starting 9-0 on the road, New Jersey went 0-2-1 on a three-game swing, capped by a 5-3 loss to Dallas on Saturday.
"When you do have a full lineup, then the little mistakes that are costly, they don't turn out to be goals all the time," coach Jacques Lemaire told the team's official Web site. "The little mistakes there that make a difference in winning and losing right now. When you have the whole team, it's not the same."
Lemaire added Dainius Zubrus to the injured list after the Devils learned the veteran center will miss 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured patella. He was hurt blocking a shot against Nashville on Thursday.
Martin Brodeur, who was supposed to get Saturday off, nearly helped the Devils steal a point after relieving Yann Danis, who yielded three first-period goals before New Jersey tied it at 3. Brodeur, who needs one shutout to match Terry Sawchuk for the all-time lead with 103, has won four straight versus the Senators to improve to 32-18-0 with four ties against them.
The Devils have won four straight at home after a 1-4-0 start, outscoring opponents 13-6.
New Jersey rallied for a 3-2 win at Ottawa on Nov. 7 as part of its 9-0 road start. David Clarkson and Andy Greene scored power-play goals 2:42 apart in the third period as the Devils erased a two-goal deficit.
Senators starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire will be sidelined about a month with a broken cheekbone, an injury he suffered while sitting on the bench against the Capitals. Leclaire was hurt on a dump-in attempt by Fisher that struck a stick and sailed into the Ottawa bench, rebounding off the glass and off the right side of Leclaire's face.
Backup Brian Elliott, who made 28 saves Monday, will take over. He is 4-1-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average on the season.