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Tuesday, March 20th (All times Eastern)

New Jersey Devils (41-27-5) at Ottawa Senators (37-26-10), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A key battle for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference is on tap tonight in Ottawa, as the Senators host the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Place.

The Devils are currently sitting sixth in the East and are just three points ahead of seventh-seeded Ottawa. The Senators and Devils have split a pair of games this season, with each team winning at home, and both contests went past regulation.

Ottawa has taken three of four and five of the last seven overall meetings against the Devils and Jersey has dropped four in a row in Canada's capital city.

However, the Senators lost for the third time in four outings after a home setback to Toronto on Saturday and it was Ottawa's first regulation setback since March 4 in Florida. Despite going 1-1-2 in its last four contests, the Sens enter tonight trailing idle Boston by just three points for the Northeast Division lead.

Ottawa entered Saturday leading the Bruins by one point for the division lead, but Boston regained the lead by beating Philadelphia in the afternoon before the Sens lost to the visiting Maple Leafs later that evening. Boston then extended its lead with an 8-0 rout of Toronto on Monday.

Before getting pulled in the first period of last night's blowout loss to the Bruins, Toronto goaltender James Reimer turned in a strong performance against Ottawa on Saturday. Reimer made 29 saves and came just 69 seconds away from shutting out the Senators, who scored their only goal in the 3-1 loss when Colin Greening beat the Leafs netminder at 18:51 of the third period.

Ben Bishop stopped just 15-of-18 shots for Ottawa in the loss. With No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson still out with a lacerated finger, Bishop is expected to make his seventh straight start tonight.

Bishop was acquired from St. Louis in a trade last month and is 3-1-2 with a 2.10 goals-against average in six games with the Sens. Anderson, who last played on Feb. 22, has been practicing, but it's still uncertain when he can return to game action.

Ottawa is closing a three-game homestand tonight and is 19-14-4 as the host this season.

The Devils, meanwhile, lost their second straight contest on Monday night, dropping a 4-2 road decision to the rival New York Rangers, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan posted a goal and an assist apiece to lead the Rangers to the win at Madison Square Garden.

Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias each posted a goal for the Devils, who have lost three of their last four. Martin Brodeur gave up all four goals on 27 shots in the loss.

"It's always tough playing here, especially with both teams needing a win," said New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer. "We worked pretty hard there and were in it, but just couldn't get that bounce that you need sometimes."

The Devils have lost their last two road games in regulation, but the club is still boasting a solid 21-14-2 record as the guest this season. After tonight's tilt, Jersey will play three of its next four games on home ice.

03/20 10:58:31 ET


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