NEWARK, N.J. – Dainius Zubrus scored on a shot that deflected off an Ottawa defenseman with 5:43 to play, and the New Jersey Devils returned from the All-Star break with a 2-1 victory over the struggling Senators on Tuesday night.
Nick Palmieri also scored and Martin Brodeur had a rather easy game in net with 15 saves as the Devils won for the seventh time in the last nine games (7-1-1).
Alex Kovalev scored for Ottawa, which was limited to a season-low 16 shots on goal. Rookie goaltender Robin Lehner gave the Senators a chance to win, making 31 saves.
Ottawa is 1-9-4 in its last 14 games.
Zubrus' winning goal came just 12 seconds after Lehner made a save on a hard shot from the right circle by Patrik Elias.
Brian Rolston regained the puck, gave it to Elias, who found Zubrus low in the right circle. Senators defenseman Chris Phillips came out to block Zubrus' attempt, but it deflected off him and fluttered past Lehner.
The Devils outshot the Senators 25-6 through the first two periods and skated off tied at 1-all.
Lehner, the 19-year-old Swede who was making his second career start, was the difference, even if he was a little lucky at times. A shot by Patrik Elias hit off the goalpost early in the second period with New Jersey ahead 1-0 and a couple of bad bounces cost the Devils' potential chances in front.
After outshooting Ottawa 9-2 in the opening period, New Jersey took the lead 25 seconds into the second.
Defenseman Andy Greene took a shot from the point that forward Milan Michalek partially blocked with his stick. The puck lost steam and rolled to the left of the net where Palmieri backhanded into the net with his second shot for his fourth goal in seven games.
Kovalev tied it less than five minutes later with the Senators enjoying a two-man advantage. Daniel Alfredsson set it up with a cross-ice pass from below the left circle to Kovalev for a slam dunk past Brodeur.
The goal came just 10 seconds after Zubrus was called for high sticking. He redeemed himself in the closing minutes.
NOTES: Devils D Colin White returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a lower body injury. ... Lehner made his first career start in a 6-4 win over the Islanders on Jan. 13. ... With only six shots in the first two periods, Ottawa threatened its franchise low for shots in a game — 10 in a 3-1 loss to Toronto on Jan. 5, 2002.