Devils try to break out of slump against Senators

The New Jersey Devils are in the midst of their worst stretch during this shortened season. On Monday, they try to right the ship when they host the Ottawa Senators in a matinee at Prudential Center.

The defending Eastern Conference champions had won five in a row before losing two of their last three, including a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Marek Zidlicky registered the lone New Jersey goal, while Johan Hedberg allowed all five goals on 33 shots for the Devils, who are still 9-3-3 in this shortened season.

"Their best players were their best players tonight," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said of the Islanders. "(John) Tavares and their goaltender ... that was the difference."

Three of the Islanders' goals came on the power play. In fact the Devils have given up at least one power-play goal in five straight games, with opponents converting 38.1 percent of their chances during that stretch after New Jersey killed its previous 19 penalties.

"Bottom line, our (penalty kill) wasn't good enough. That's the difference," defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "Usually, PKs are our strength. If our PK does the job, it's a different game."

Marty Brodeur, who is 4-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA over his last five starts, should be back between the pipes on Monday. In his last seven home starts versus Ottawa Brodeur is 5-1 with a 1.89 goals against average. However, he is just 2-4-1 against the Senators with a 2.56 GAA in his last seven overall encounters with them.

New Jersey returns home, where it has lost just once in regulation this season (6-1-1). The Devils will hit the road for a pair of games against the Washington Capitals after this contest.

Ottawa, meanwhile, enters this contest having lost two in a row after a 3-0 loss to Toronto on Saturday. Craig Anderson gave up two goals on 27 shots for the Senators, who have dropped four of five overall.

"I thought we had every chance to win the game and I'm really happy with the effort we put forth," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean. "We just didn't have any puck-luck and they did."

Despite firing 34 shots at Maple Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens - including 19 in the second period - the Senators were shut out for the third time this season

It was the first game for the Senators since losing defenseman Erik Karlsson to a cut left Achilles tendon. The team is already without the services of center Jason Spezza, who had surgery to repair a herniated disc on Jan. 27, and Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, is expected to miss the next 3-to-4 months after having surgery to repair his injury.

Milan Michalek is also doubtful for this tilt with a sprained knee.

New Jersey has won two in a row and three of the last four meetings with the Senators. Ottawa has also dropped eight of its last nine in New Jersey.