Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/7/12
Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice and rookie Stephen Gionta added the game winner for his first NHL goal as New Jersey defeated visiting Ottawa 4-2 on Saturday for its sixth straight win.

Alexei Ponikarovsky drove hard to the net late in the third period and Gionta followed the play, cleaning up the rebound to give the Devils a 3-2 lead.

Kovalchuk concluded the scoring with an empty-netter for the Devils, who will face the Southeast Division champion on the road to open the playoffs.

The Senators squandered a chance to secure seventh place in the Eastern Conference and now await the outcome of a pair of games later Saturday. Ottawa will fall to eighth if Washington defeats the New York Rangers and Florida secures at least one point against Carolina.

Matt Gilroy opened the scoring for the Senators at 10:59 with his third goal of the campaign.

Kovalchuk tied the game 1-1 on a power play at 15:26 when he criss-crossed with Patrik Elias, took a pass from him and fired a wrister far-side on Anderson for his 36th of the season.

Jim O’Brien gave the Senators a 2-1 lead with his third goal of the season when he beat Martin Brodeur with a wrist-shot sort-side at 13:59.

Petr Sykora pulled New Jersey into a 2-2 tie at 17:43 of the middle frame by capping off a rare 5-on-1 rush. On the power play, Sykora snapped home his 21st of the season after a pretty passing play that started with Dainius Zubrus and rookie Adam Henrique.
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