OTTAWA -- With another division title already sewn up, the New Jersey Devils brushed off a late, tying goal by Ottawa and set a franchise record.The night that was
The Devils, who improved to 50-27-4 to set a new franchise record for wins, had already clinched first place in the Atlantic Division and third place overall in the Eastern Conference by getting a point for going into overtime.
New Jersey has won three of four following a six-game losing streak (0-5-1).
"We're on our way," Parise said. "We did a pretty good job of eliminating opportunities, and we've got to start burying some of our chances, too, but we're getting there. We knew it wasn't going to be overnight but we've got one more game before the playoffs and we're slowly getting there."
Dany Heatley scored his 39th goal to draw Ottawa even at two with a minute left in the third period. The Senators' All-Star left wing scored his fourth in three games to tie it when he drove a shot past Martin Brodeur from the slot to cap a wild scramble around the Devils' goal.
"We were happy with the effort," said Brian Gionta, who scored the first of New Jersey's two goals 36 seconds apart early in the second. "Obviously, if we could have clamped down and not allowed that last goal it would have been better, but we did a lot of good things tonight."
New Jersey, which won 49 games in 2006-07, claimed its third division title in four seasons.
"It's a tough division and to finish first overall is another feather in the players' hats," coach Brent Sutter said.
"I've been around and I was surprised that we never did it," Brodeur said. "The year I won 48, we won only 49, so it's good for the team, the guys that were here and the players that went up and down, guys who contributed like Clemmer, and Weeksie, also."
Brodeur stopped Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza after Daniel Alfredsson scored on Ottawa's first shot. He made 28 saves and raised his all-time wins record to 556 in his 998th regular season game. Brodeur, who has 101 career shutouts, two behind Terry Sawchuk's NHL record of 103, has played 59,962 minutes -- 38 short of 60,000 with one game remaining.
"It's nice to have home-ice advantage," Brodeur said. "I know we were going to get it anyway, but the higher you get in the standings, the better it is."
The Devils finish their regular season Saturday against Carolina.
"I think I want to play," Brodeur said. "I need the work, I need to play -- it's been a tough last couple of weeks. When I first came back from my injury, it was great. Now I've won three games out of the last four and I just want to keep going."
Jarkko Ruutu also scored for the Senators, who had their franchise-record home winning streak stopped nine in their last game of the season at Scotiabank Place.
"It's unfortunate we couldn't finish off with a win for the fans in the shootout, but we showed a lot of character battling back," said Jesse Winchester, who assisted on both Ottawa goals.
The Senators, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996, finish their season Saturday night in Toronto.
Gionta scored his 20th goal 3:01 into the second to draw New Jersey even at 1. Gionta's goal came two seconds after a too-many-men penalty against Ottawa expired.
The Ottawa goalie stopped the puck along the boards and left it behind the net and Devils forward David Clarkson pounced on it. Clarkson attempted a wraparound while Auld tried to scramble back into position and Rolston put away the puck when it came loose for his 15th goal.
Ruutu gave Ottawa a 1-0 lead with his seventh goal 4:13 in.
|Martin Brodeur plays his part in helping the Devils win a franchise-best 50th game. (AP)|
|New Jersey (50-27-4) «||0||2||0||0||1 (2)||3|
|Ottawa (36-34-11)||1||0||1||0||0 (1)||2|
Save Pct.: .933
Save Pct.: .938
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|04:13||Jarkko Ruutu (7), Tip-In. Assist: Lee, Winchester|
|03:01||Brian Gionta (20), Tip-In. Assist: Shanahan, Mottau|
|03:47||Brian Rolston (15), Snap Shot. Assist: Clarkson|
|19:00||Dany Heatley (39), Wrist Shot. Assist: Spezza, Winchester|
|Zach Parise (4), GOAL|
|Daniel Alfredsson (5), GOAL|
|Brendan Shanahan (1), GOAL|
|10:51||Letourneau-Leblo, 5 min, Fighting|
|10:51||Winchester, 5 min, Fighting|
|13:44||White, 2 min, Tripping|
|18:00||Neil, 2 min, Hooking|
|59.0||Foligno, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice|
|09:41||White, 2 min, Roughing|
|09:41||Neil, 2 min, Roughing|
|15:35||White, 2 min, Hooking|
|20:00||Spezza, 2 min, Tripping|
|05:46||Ruutu, 2 min, Hooking|
|09:21||Alfredsson, 2 min, Goaltender Interference|
|09:21||Alfredsson, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct|
|12:22||Greene, 2 min, Tripping|
|Shots On Goal|
|Goalie||MINS||S||GA||SO S||SO GA|
|Attendance - 20151|
|Referees - Gord Dwyer, Stephane Auger|
|Linesmen - Steve Barton, Steve Miller|