Defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday in Newark, N.J.
New Jersey officially punched its ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2018 after the Florida Panthers dropped a 4-3 decision to the New York Rangers earlier on Saturday.
Jack Hughes scored his 40th goal of the season to become the first member of the Devils to reach that plateau since Zach Parise in 2008-09. Hughes added an assist, Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer and Tomas Tatar also scored and Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves in his first start since Feb. 19 for New Jersey (46-19-8, 100 points).
The Devils reached the 100-point mark for the first time since 2011-12.
Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk scored his seventh goal in seven games and Mark Kastelic and defenseman Thomas Chabot also tallied. Dylan Ferguson turned aside 30 shots for the Senators (35-33-5, 75 points), who have lost seven of their last nine games (2-6-1).
With the game tied at 3-3, Hughes wired a sharp pass to Hamilton deep in the right circle. Hamilton settled the puck and unleashed a sharp-angle shot that handcuffed Ferguson for his 19th goal of the season and first since March 1.
Tatar sealed the win by scoring into the empty net with 43 seconds to play.
Chabot's blast from the point trimmed New Jersey's lead to 3-2 at 9:22 of the second before Kastelic forged a tie following a deflection with 3:57 left in the period.
Tim Stutzle advanced the puck to Tkachuk, who fired a shot from the left circle that sailed over the left shoulder of Blackwood to open the scoring at 3:14 of the first period. Tkachuk's goal was his 33rd of the season.
Hughes answered just over seven minutes later after weaving through the Ottawa defense before tucking the puck past Ferguson.
Bratt converted a breakaway to give the Devils a 2-1 lead at 2:24 of the second period and Mercer scored on a one-timer 69 seconds later.
--Field Level Media