Updated at: 04/12/2013 10:35 PM
(AP) NEWARK, N.J. - Craig Anderson made 33 saves in his third shutout of the season, and the Ottawa Senators sent the sliding New Jersey Devils to their ninth straight loss with a 2-0 victory Friday night.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Milan Michalek second-period goals for the Senators, who won for the second straight night, following a five-game skid, to boost their playoff chances.
Ottawa, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, lead ninth-place Winnipeg by four points. New Jersey is 10th, eight points behind Ottawa and four behind the New York Rangers and the postseason cutoff with seven games to play.
The Senators will finish a season-high, seven-game trip at Boston on Monday. They will then play five of their final six at home, where they are 13-3-3.
The defending East champion Devils dropped to 0-5-4 without injured star forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The slide is one game shy of the franchise mark, set early in the 1983-84 season.
Kovalchuk appears close to returning to the lineup, but it might be too late for the Devils. Their skid began when he sustained a shoulder injury on March 23 against Florida.
As has been the case in recent weeks, New Jersey seemed to control the territorial play and the shot count, but it didn’t help produce any goals.
Despite outshooting the Senators 23-9 in the opening 40 minutes and getting an early two-man advantage for the second straight game, the Devils trailed 2-0 heading into the third period.
Pageau, called up from Binghamton of the AHL on Wednesday, earned an assist that night in the win at Philadelphia and scored his first NHL goal in his second game.
Erik Condra intercepted a pass around the boards by Devils defenseman Mark Fayne and tried to center it from deep in the right corner. The puck deflected off Devils center Andrei Loktionov, and went right to Colin Greening between the circles.
Greening sent a backhander toward goalie Martin Brodeur, and Pageau came out from behind the net and tipped the puck over Brodeur’s shoulder at 3:08.
It was the Senators’ first legitimate shot on goal after they had three in the first period.
Michalek, who had missed the previous 15 games and 25 of 27 because of injuries, scored his third goal of the season.
The play started when Devils defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Henrik Tallinder collided near the Senators’ blue line. Michalek skated the puck down the left side on a 2-on-1 rush, made a pass to Daniel Alfredsson coming down the middle, and then took the return pass for a shot into a wide open net.
The Devils had chances to get back into it.
Steve Sullivan was stopped by Anderson early on a shot from between the circles and then had a rebound hit off the post seconds later. Zidlicky had a couple of shots on the two-man advantage in the first period that lasted for 1:24, and Matt D’Agostini was stopped on a good chance from between the circles.
Anderson’s best save probably was a stick stop on Ryan Carter late in the second period after a Senators turnover during a power play set up a 2-on-1, short-handed chance.
NOTES: Anderson is 6-2-1 against the Devils. ... New Jersey is 3 of 33 on the power play without Kovalchuk in this losing streak. ... The Devils’ next two games are on the road: at Toronto and Philadelphia. ... When the Devils lost 10 straight in 83-84, they started that season 2-20. ... New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov sat out the first game of a four-game suspension for elbowing Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head on Wednesday. Devils captain and fellow defenseman Bryce Salvador missed the game because of a wrist injury sustained in the same game after he was hit by Zdeno Chara’s shot.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)