Chris Neil is used to delivering a knockout punch, but on Thursday night, the New Jersey Devils proved to be the heavyweights.
The Devils defeated the Senators 5-4 in a shootout, ruining what was otherwise a perfect night for Neil who was playing his 900th career game with Ottawa.
Lee Stempniak scored twice, including the shootout winner, as New Jersey won its third straight game.
Travis Zajac, Jordin Tootoo and Adam Henrique supplied the rest of the offence for the Devils (3-3-1). Cory Schneider made 35 saves for the win in net.
"We're a team that's got to fight for every inch and there's not very high expectations for us, but in the room we believe we're capable of a lot more than what people expect from us," said Stempniak. "I think that's our mentality is just go out and playing until the final buzzer and that came through tonight."
Neil, Mike Hoffman, Zack Smith and Mika Zibanejad had goals for the Senators (3-2-2), who have now lost three straight. Andrew Hammond turned away 28 shots in his season debut.
"Ultimately I thought we played really well for a lot of portions of the game and I feel like my game kind of reflected that," said Hammond. "I thought there were parts of the game where I played really well and then at the end of the day we let them get four goals and you're not going to win too many games allowing that."
Trailing 4-2 in the third period, New Jersey scored twice late to tie the game 4-4.
Henrique cut the lead to one as he buried a Mike Cammalleri rebound at 14:10. Stempniak completed the comeback when he beat Hammond with 31.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
"We handed them the third goal," said Senators coach Dave Cameron. "You can't give teams a freebie and they got it."
New Jersey forward Stephen Gionta took a major penalty and received a game misconduct for spearing Mark Borowiecki late in the second period. Ottawa made the most of the power play in the opening minutes of the third.
Hoffman, who left the game late in the third with a lower-body injury, scored his fourth of the season from the point at 2:24 to give the Senators their first lead of the night. Four minutes later, Neil got his first of the season to make it 4-2 in front of 16,578 spectators at Canadian Tire Centre.
Neil added an assist while also fighting Tootoo to finish the night with a Gordie Howe hat trick.
"It's disappointing not getting the two points out of that," said Neil. "We fought and clawed our way back into the game after two power-play goals and thought we did a good job for the most part of shutting them down. The late goal hurt us and it could have went either way at the end. The frustrating part is the two points."
Ottawa had a strong second period, out shooting the Devils 14-9.
The Sens created plenty of traffic in front of Schneider and were rewarded midway through the second when Smith was able to get his stick on a bouncing puck to tie the game 2-2. It was Smith's first goal since Oct. 28, 2014.
Ottawa got into penalty trouble early when they took back-to-back infractions in the opening minutes of the game.
New Jersey made the most of the two-man advantage as Zajac beat Hammond short side. The Senators tied the game less than a minute later as Zibanejad intercepted an Eric Gelinas pass and broke in alone on Schneider to score his first career short-handed goal.
Tootoo regained the lead for the Devils scoring as the power play expired – beating Hammond with a one-timer.
Notes: Defenceman Marc Methot remains day-to-day with a concussion, while left-winger Clarke MacArthur missed his third-straight game due to a concussion. New Jersey's Jon Merrill missed the game due to illness, while right-winger Tuomo Ruutu remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury.