Buffalo 4 – New Jersey 3 (SO)
Saturday, March 2, 2013
First Niagara Center
Jason Pominville took the reins with leading scorer Thomas Vanek out of the lineup, guiding the Buffalo Sabres to their third straight win in a 4-3 shootout decision over the New Jersey Devils Saturday afternoon at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres emerged on top in the back-and-forth game, which saw three lead changes and a combined 38 penalty minutes, thanks in large part to the play of their captain, who scored twice in regulation and once more in the shootout. Cody Hodgson assisted on both Pominville goals and Jochen Hecht found the back of the net for the first time this season.
Ryan Miller made 28 saves and kept the Devils off the board in the shootout while Tyler Ennis followed Pominville with the shootout tally that clinched Buffalo’s first three-game win streak of the season. New Jersey outshot the Sabres 31-23.
Neither team found the back of the net in the first period but both sides worked together to pile up 22 penalty minutes at 11 apiece. The Devils doubled up the Sabres in shots, 13-6, with two coming on the power play.
Jason Pominville opened the game’s scoring eight minutes into the period. With the Sabres shorthanded, Cody Hodgson won a battle in the right offensive corner and dropped the puck back to Pominville just above the right circle, where he wired a slapshot over the glove of Johan Hedberg for his eighth goal. New Jersey responded just minutes later to even things up at intermission. New Jersey again outshot the Sabres, 13-8.
The Devils took their first lead with a shorthanded goal of their own with 1:21 gone in the period, but Pominville tied the game at two at the 16:50 mark when he buried a cross-ice pass from Hodgson for his second goal of the game. The Sabres regained the lead at the 10-minute mark as Jochen Hecht tucked a backhander behind Hedberg for his first goal of the season. But the Devils pulled even once more a minute later with the goal that would eventually send the game to overtime.
A Marek Zidlicky roughing penalty 37 seconds in gave the Sabres a golden opportunity to seal the deal in the extra period as they outshot the Devils 2-0. But, for the second consecutive game, Buffalo needed a shootout to decide the game, where Pominville and Ennis went 2-for-2 while Miller shut the door on Ilya Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique for the win.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
The Sabres are on a three-game win streak for the first time since a five-game stretch from March 19-27 last season… This was just the second game in the NHL this season with two shorthanded goals scored… Jason Pominville has 16 points (9+7) in 25 career games against the Devils, leading all Sabres skaters… Pominville’s shorthanded goal in the second period was the Sabres’ first since March 27, 2012, against Washington, also scored by Pominville… Cody Hodgson now has 16 points (6+11) in his last 16 games… Hodgson took 27 faceoffs, winning 16. He leads the Sabres in faceoffs taken in all but two games… Jochen Hecht scored his first goal since Dec. 30, 2011... Buffalo out-hit New Jersey, 31-20... Buffalo is now 2-4-0 in six afternoon games this season… This was the 137th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo is 70-45-22 against the Devils (37-22-10 at home).
Brian Flynn earned a call-up from Rochester before the game and made his NHL debut in place of Thomas Vanek, who sat out for the second time this season due to injury (upper body)… T.J. Brennan and John Scott were healthy scratches… Jordan Leopold (upper body, 4 games) was moved to the IR on Friday, joining Alexander Sulzer (lower body, 2 games) and Ville Leino (hip, 21 games).
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS:
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 26:56
Shots: Jason Pominville, 6
Blocked Shots: Andrej Sekera, 5
Hits: Mike Weber/Steve Ott/Marcus Foligno, 5
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 16
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 27 (16+11)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Scoring first: 7-4-0
Tied after the second period: 5-4-1
Outshot by an opponent: 7-9-0
Game decided by shootout: 3-0
Overall: 9/79, 11.4%
Home: 7/44, 15.9%
Overall: 75/92, 81.5%
Home: 29/38, 76.3 %
* Sunday @ NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
* Tuesday @ Carolina, 7 p.m.
* Thursday @ New Jersey, 7 p.m.