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Sunday, May 11

Updated: May 21, 1:31 PM ET

Early deficit doesn't concern Devils

Associated Press

OTTAWA -- A word of advice from New Jersey Devils coach Pat Burns -- relax.

His team trails a series for the first time this postseason following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Senators that opened the Eastern Conference finals. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Ottawa.

"You don't win a series by winning one game," Burns said Sunday during a televised satellite hookup from New Jersey. "I don't think we made major mistakes. I don't think it was something where we looked stupid. I don't think they dominated us. We're not worried. We're not panicking."

He dismissed questions that the Senators' speed and creativity might be too much for New Jersey. In any case, the Devils will have to generate more scoring while attempting to contain an opportunistic opponent.

The Devils did show composure in Game 1 on Saturday by rallying from an early two-goal deficit, but they occasionally played a step behind.

Shaun Van Allen's game-winner came on a 2-on-1 rush. And the Senators had several opportunities to blow things open if not for goaltender Martin Brodeur's stellar 27-save effort.

After rolling through the first two rounds, needing five games each to eliminate Boston and Tampa Bay, the Devils face a stiffer test in the Senators, who had the most points of any team during the regular season.

"I think it was a good taste to see how we are going to be able to beat them, and how we're going to need to adjust in certain areas to be more successful," Brodeur said. "We'll learn from this, we'll adjust and that's what good teams do."

The top-seeded Senators are erasing memories of past playoff exits. In eliminating the New York Islanders in five games and Philadelphia in six, Ottawa has reached the third round for the first time in its 11-year history.

The Senators are playing with new poise, exhibited by their failure to unravel after the Devils rallied. Coach Jacques Martin credits that to lessons learned from previous playoffs. Last year, Ottawa squandered a 3-2 second-round series lead to Toronto.

"I am sure there's an awareness," Martin said. "It's something that you have to develop, and it's probably different ways it happens."

The big key is confidence, something these Senators appear to have.

"We were a top team all year," forward Mike Fisher said. "I think we went through some growing pains the last few years and really learned from that. And we realize how fun it is to win."

That doesn't mean the Senators are looking too far ahead.

"We know that they're a very confident and experienced team," Fisher said. "We expect them to come back even harder, so we have to play even better."

Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer said that except for a bruise, he feels fine after being struck in the back of the helmet by Anton Volchenkov's shot shortly before Ottawa's winning goal.

"I think I was fortunate the shot went off the back of my helmet, the biggest part of my helmet," Niedermayer said. "And I feel pretty good today."
Devils
New Jersey
46-20-10-6

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Senators
Ottawa
52-21-8-1

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