The New Jersey Devils will aim for a third straight win Monday evening in Ottawa, but they'll have to get by without Ilya Kovalchuk when they battle the Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Kovalchuk, who has 10 goals and is second on the team with 27 points this season, suffered a right shoulder injury in Saturday's win over Florida and is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks.
The Russian forward lost an edge near the Florida goal line and slid head first into the boards near the midpoint of the third. Kovalchuk joins fellow New Jersey forwards Alexei Ponikarovsky (lower body) and Dainius Zubrus (wrist) on the shelf. Neither Ponikarovsky nor Zubrus will make the trip to Ottawa.
The Senators certainly won't feel sorry for New Jersey, as Ottawa has been saddled with tremendous injury problems all season long and still sits fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. Ottawa lost top defenseman Erik Karlsson for the season back in February, while goaltender Craig Anderson and forwards Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek are still out with long term injuries.
The Devils are seeded seventh in the East, trailing Ottawa by four points.
New Jersey is coming off a 2-1 decision against the Panthers, as David Clarkson's second-period marker proved to be the difference in the home game at Prudential Center. Patrik Elias also lit the lamp, while Travis Zajac assisted on both New Jersey goals to help the Devils register their second straight victory.
Martin Brodeur stopped 17-of-18 shots to notch his 666th career win.
The Devils were up 1-0 when they doubled their cushion with just under nine minutes left in the second on a nice individual effort from Clarkson. He flipped a wrister from the right circle that was stopped, but the New Jersey winger followed his shot and pounded home the rebound in front for his team- leading 12th goal of the season.
"The rebound just kind of sat in that part of the pad where it bends and I just kept digging," Clarkson said of his goal. "It was just one of those plays where I was just digging at the puck."
The Devils are kicking off a three-game road trip on Monday and are just 5-6-4 as the visiting club this season.
Ottawa, meanwhile, is 1-1 at the start of a five-game homestand, losing the opener to Boston on Thursday before rebounding with Saturday's win over Tampa Bay. The Senators have done far more damage at home than on the road this season, going 11-2-3 at Scotiabank Place compared to a 6-7-3 record everywhere else.
The Sens jumped out to a 4-0 lead against the Lightning in the first period before holding on for the 5-3 victory. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist in the big first period for Ottawa, while Daniel Alfredsson contributed two goals towards the winning effort.
Eric Gryba and Guillaume Latendresse added goals for the Senators, who have won four of their last five. Robin Lehner stopped 29 shots in the win.
"We kind of let them get back into it there at the end," said Alfredsson. "Letting a team get momentum at any point of the game is never good, we have to work on clamping down a little better."
Ben Bishop will get the start Monday. He stopped 30-of-31 shots against New Jersey in Ottawa's 2-1 shootout victory against the Devils on Feb. 18. Despite that home loss, the Devils have still won three of five overall in this series and five of nine in Ottawa.