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Bratt powers Devils past Senators for third straight win

New Jersey Devils Dawson Mercer - The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Hughes Brothers proved to be more than the Ottawa Senators could handle on Friday night. Add in their linemate Jesper Bratt, and forget about it.

Bratt had a goal and three assists as the New Jersey Devils beat the Senators 6-2 to stretch their win streak to three.

Luke and Jack Hughes had a goal and two assists each for the Devils (19-13-2), while Dawson Mercer, Tyler Toffoli and Brendan Smith also scored. Nico Daws made 25 saves for the win in net.

"That was a lot of fun. I was pretty nervous in the first period and getting the first couple of shots, but after that I kind of settled in,” said Daws, who was making his first start with the Devils this season.

"Everybody played fantastic and that was a full 60-minute effort. Everybody played really well."

Drake Batherson and Jacob Bernard-Docker scored as the Senators (13-18-0) had their two-game win streak halted. Goalie Joonas Korpisalo stopped 24 shots.

"Obviously not the result we wanted," said Bernard-Docker. "From the start we lost a lot of battles tonight, myself included.

"I wasn’t at my best tonight, but we trust in this group and we’re learning the hard way right now."

The Devils went into the third period up 4-1 and after killing a penalty, Nico Hischier hit Smith with a breakaway pass as he left the penalty box. Smith beat Korpisalo with a deke for his first goal with New Jersey.

With just under seven minutes to play, Bernard-Docker took a point shot that hit a Devils player in front and past Daws cutting New Jersey's lead to 5-2.

"In this league you can’t get too high or too low, I mean, you have a game every second day," said Bernard-Docker. "Maybe that is a bit of our problem right now and when we are winning we’re all excited and when we lose it’s the other way.

"You’re going to have ups and downs and for us, it’s just sticking together. I really do believe in this group and I think at some point in the near future we’re going to get going."

Luke Hughes closed out the scoring, giving the Devils a 6-2 lead at 17:28 of the third period.

The Senators opened the scoring midway through the first period when Tkachuk intercepted a clearing attempt inside the Devils’ blue line and fed Batherson in front of Daws. Batherson waited for Daws to go down and flipped the puck over him into the back of the net.

New Jersey responded with a pair of power-play goals before the end of the period to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Jack Hughes scored at 13:10 and then Bratt put the Devils ahead with just eight seconds to play in the period.

"That’s a really good top six over there and if you give them time and space they’re going to score, and that’s what happened,” Batherson said.

"You get a lead in the first period at home and take a penalty and they tie it up and then we took a few more. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it goes."

In the second, New Jersey upped their lead to 4-1 as Mercer scored at 7:17 followed by Toffoli at 14:47.

"This was a huge game for us. We really needed these two points,” Bratt said. “It was a full team effort and obviously Nico [Daws] played great in net and helped us out getting this win."

The Senators finished 0 for 4 on the power play while the Devils were 2 for 4.

NOTES — The game marked the first of three meetings between the teams this season. They will face off in New Jersey on March 23 and then again back in Ottawa on April 6 … Forwards Zack MacEwen and Mathieu Joseph were scratches for the Senators … Defenceman Colin Miller and forward Curtis Lazar were scratches for the Devils … Senators captain Brady Tkachuk collected his 300th career point with a first-period assist on Friday … Devils forward Jesper Bratt collected his 200th career point, also with a first period assist Friday.

UP NEXT — The Senators will conclude a brief two-game homestand when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. They will then head out on a five-game road trip.

The Devils play in Boston on Saturday and in Washington on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2023.