Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 12:57 AM ET / THE AFTERMATH
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow)
Buffalo lost their fourth straight road game on Wednesday, as Petr Sykora scored twice to pace the New Jersey Devils in a 3-1 win over the Sabres at a sold-out Prudential Center.
After starting the season 7-2-0 away from the First Niagara Center, the Sabres are now 1-5 on the road since Thanksgiving. Buffalo’s last road win was a 3-2 decision in Nashville on December 3. They have been outscored 25-11 in their last six road games, and have scored three or more goals just twice.
“I think we did a lot of good things (tonight),” said Jason Pominville. “A few mistakes ended up in the back of our net. But it is a little bit of both: us putting our chances away, and trying to eliminate those quality scoring chances we gave up. But we’ve gotta score more than one goal to win a game, and we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Buffalo fell behind at 9:52 of the first period on a play that was started back in the Devils end. Goaltender Martin Brodeur grabbed the puck after a Robyn Regehr shoot-in, and fed it up ice immediately to Patrick Elias. He found Petr Sykora on the right side and his shot trickled across the line after Miller got a piece of it.
“I was kind of looking for him to shoot through Robyn, and he waited to shoot around him,” explained Miller. “I just knocked the puck a bit, but I still should’ve had that one. It’s frustrating not to keep myself in that position. It did cross me up a bit. But that’s hockey. Stuff happens. You have to live through it and overcome it and keep working.”
LISTEN TO MILLER'S COMPLETE POST-GAME REACTION
The Devils went ahead 3-0 on goals by Sykora and Zach Parise, who deftly tipped a Mark Fayne point shot past a helpless Miller. Buffalo appeared to get back in the game on a tipped shot by Luke Adam, but the goal was disallowed as it was judged to have been knocked down by a high stick.
“I thought we did a bit more work in the second period,” said Miller. “We had a post and a disallowed goal. I think that starts to become more of the difference.”
Even Lindy Ruff wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort.
“If you look at it, we might’ve had the edge in chances. It was a pretty even game throughout.”
Buffalo’s only goal of the night came on the power play in the second period. Drew Stafford forced the play in the corner to keep possession, and passed it back to Jordan Leopold at the point. His shot handcuffed Brodeur, and the rebound ended up in Thomas Vanek’s skates in the crease. He kicked the puck up to his stick and buried his team-leading 18th goal of the season. The goal also extended Vanek’s point streak to six games, where he has scored five goals and four assists.
Buffalo started the same lineup that defeated Washington on Monday, but that won’t be the case when they face Washington on Friday at the Verizon Center. Defenseman Andrej Sekera left the game with an upper body injury in the second period after he was boarded by Eric Boulton. Ruff said after the game that he expects Sekera to be for while, likely a matter of weeks. Boulton was assessed a two-minute roughing penalty on the play.
NOTES: The Sabres are now 5-2-2 all-time at Prudential Center since it opened in 2007 … Buffalo hasn’t won consecutive games since putting together a four-game winning streak from November 4-11 … The Sabres have only had three streaks of two or more wins all season … Marc-Andre Gragnani (healthy) and Tyler Ennis (ankle) were Buffalo’s scratches … Ennis and Nathan Gerbe both took part in Wednesday’s morning skate.