New Jersey 3 – Buffalo 2 (SO)
Thursday, March 7, 2013
NEWARK, NJ – Jhonas Enroth hadn’t played a game in over a month, and he was 66 seconds away from earning his first victory in 15 months. But the New Jersey Devils had other plans on Thursday, rallying from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in a shootout. David Clarkson assisted on Patrick Elias’ game-tying goal at 18:54, and then scored the shootout-deciding goal to bring an end to New Jersey’s six-game winless streak. Buffalo dropped to 9-13-3 on the year, and are now 0-1-2 during their season-high four-game road stretch that concludes Sunday in Philadelphia.
Making his first start since February 5, Enroth had to be removed from the game following Elias’ goal in the third, suffering from cramps in his right leg that had been bothering him for the entire period. He finished with 27 saves in 58:54 of action. Ryan Miller closed the game for Buffalo and made four saves in the final 6:06, before allowing goals to Clarkson and Elias in the shootout. He was tagged with the shootout loss, and his record now stands at 9-11-3.
Brian Flynn scored his first career NHL goal in the third period, and Thomas Vanek added his team-leading 13th of the season. It was Vanek’s first goal in seven games, with the last coming on February 17 against Pittsburgh.
The Sabres and Devils played a scoreless first period, with the Devils holding an 11-6 edge in shots. Jhonas Enroth stood tall in the Buffalo net, making back-to-back saves on Adam Henrique and Patrick Elias midway through the period. Buffalo’s best chances came off a Cody Hodgson shot that hit the post, and a redirection in front by John Scott that trickled just wide of the Devils net.
Buffalo used the power play to open the scoring, as Thomas Vanek converted a pass in front from Tyler Ennis at 7:56 to take a 1-0 lead. The goal was Vanek’s 13th of the year, and sixth power play marker. It was also the eighth straight game the Devils have allowed the opening goal. Enroth continued his hot play in the second, with a glove save on David Clarkson being his best of the period. Shots were even at 8-8, giving the Devils a 19-14 lead after 40 minutes.
Brian Flynn gave Buffalo a two-goal lead at 9:56 when he banged home a rebound through a crowd of players in the crease area. Marcus Foligno and Andrej Sekera assisted on Flynn’s milestone goal. Just under four minutes later, Adam Henrique spoiled Enroth’s shutout bid on the power play. Henrique’s initial shot was blocked by Mike Weber, but he grabbed the rebound and fired a wrist shot past Enroth. With time winding down, the Devils pulled Hedberg for the extra attacker. David Clarkson’s shot was stopped by Enroth, but Patrick Elias drove the slot to bury the rebound into the wide open net to tie the game at 18:54.
Jason Pominville had a chance to win the game late in the overtime period, but his slapshot from just inside the right faceoff circle rang off the far post behind Hedberg. Shots were even at 3-3 in overtime, giving the Devils a 33-25 advantage for the game.
New Jersey won the shootout 2-0 on goals by Clarkson and Elias, while Vanek and Pominville were unable to score on Hedberg.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Brian Flynn becomes the 288th player to score a goal in franchise history… With his assist on Thomas Vanek's goal, Steve Ott now has an assist in each of his last four games against the Devils… Dating back to last season, Vanek has 40 points (15+25) in his last 32 games… The Sabres have now scored power play goals in consecutive road games for the first time this season… Buffalo is 3-2 in shootouts this season; 46-39 all-time… The Sabres are 3-2-2 against the Atlantic Division this season… 138th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo is 70-45-23 against the Devils.
Jochen Hecht was a healthy scratch, along with defenseman Adam Pardy… Patrick Kaleta served the second game of his five-game suspension… Jordan Leopold (upper body, 8 games), Alexander Sulzer (lower body, 6 games) and Ville Leino (hip, 25 games) are all on IR.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 27:33
Shots: Thomas Vanek/Brian Flynn, 4
Blocked Shots: Tyler Myers, 3
Hits: Mike Weber, 4
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 11
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 20 (11-9)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Scoring First: 7-4-2
Tied after the first period: 6-6-3
Leading after the second period: 2-0-2
Outshot by an opponent: 7-9-1
Overall: 11/90, 12.2%
Road: 4/46, 8.7%
Overall: 81/102, 79.4%
Road: 52/64, 81.3%
* Sunday @ Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
* Tuesday vs. NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
* Saturday vs. Ottawa, 3 p.m.