Senators, Devils meet for key battle in Jersey

The Ottawa Senators put the brakes on a five-game losing streak that had put their playoff chances in danger.

The New Jersey Devils' eight-game slide has already knocked the club outside of the postseason picture and they'll try to pick up a much-needed win on Friday when they host the Sens.

The Devils have fallen into 10th place in the Eastern Conference thanks to their longest losing streak since dropping eight in a row during the 1985-86 season. They are four points behind the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets for the eighth spot in the conference, but things could be worse.

New Jersey has kept within reach thanks to four post-regulation losses over its slide, but failed to secure a point in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Boston Bruins.

New Jersey gave up three goals in the first period and trailed 4-0 early in the second. Goals by Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Andy Greene made it a one- goal game, but Boston got some breathing room with Tyler Seguin's goal 7:33 into the third.

Matt D'Agostini tallied for the Devils with 37 seconds to play, but time ran out on the comeback bid.

"At the end of the day, there's only one team that's gonna give us a chance and it's ourselves. We have to have that attitude," said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 13 saves on 18 shots faced.

All eight losses for the Devils have come since forward Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a sprained right shoulder on March 23 versus Florida, the date of New Jersey's last win. Though he is skating with the team and is nearing a return, he is unlikely to play tonight.

He won't be on the only player missing as Bryce Salvador took a shot off his wrist on Wednesday and did not return to the game, while defenseman Anton Volchenkov will begin serving a four-game suspension handed down on Thursday for an elbow to the head of Boston's Brad Marchand.

The franchise record for the longest losing streak in Devils history is 10, set from Oct. 14-Nov. 4, 1983.

The Sens will try to push the Devils one step closer to that mark after snapping a five-game slide with Thursday's 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. All five of those defeats came in regulation, but the two points earned last night has Ottawa tied with the New York Islanders for sixth in the East with a game in hand, and two points up on the Rangers and Jets.

Colin Greening had the game-winning goal late in the third period on Thursday while on the power play, while Zack Smith and Daniel Alfredsson added goals.

"It's something we almost felt was coming because I think that we've been playing pretty good the last few games and we stuck with it tonight," Alfredsson said. "It's two really important points for us."

Robin Lehner posted 24 saves for the Senators, who had lost the first four of a seven-game road trip that ends on Monday in Boston. Ottawa is just 7-11-3 on the road this season.

The Sens have picked up a pair of shootout wins over the Devils this season and are looking to sweep the season series for the first time in franchise history. They have lost eight of their past 10 in New Jersey, however.