Buffalo at New Jersey

Sabres grab early lead, hang on to edge Devils


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Daniel Briere and the Buffalo Sabres made the most of rare mistakes by the New Jersey Devils.

Briere set up all three Buffalo goals as the Sabres took a comfortable lead and then held on in the final minute for a 3-2 victory over the Devils on Tuesday night.

New Jersey, one of the NHL's top defensive teams, twice turned the puck over to Briere in the third period. He made them pay for the errors.

"We knew coming in that we weren't going to get too many odd-man rushes," Briere said. "They play it tight, they play it tough. We were able to connect on our few odd-man rushes. Against the Devils, that's the way you've got to beat them."

Jochen Hecht, Maxim Afinogenov and Jason Pominville scored as the Eastern Conference-leading Sabres improved to 14-3 on the road. Ryan Miller notched his first win in five decisions against the Devils despite giving up goals to Erik Rasmussen and Brian Gionta 21 seconds apart in the final minute of the game.

The Sabres cooled off one of the NHL's hottest home teams in a building where they had lost eight in a row to the Devils. New Jersey fell to 11-2-1 at home and had a five-game winning streak overall snapped.

Hecht gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 12:05 of the second when he started and finished a scoring play. Hecht fed a pass to Briere, who shot from the slot. Martin Brodeur made an arm save, and Hecht pounced on the rebound for his seventh goal.

Briere twice victimized Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski as the Sabres extended the lead to 3-0 in the third.

Briere stripped the puck from Rafalski along the boards to trigger the break that produced Afinogenov's goal at 3:12. Briere nudged the puck away from Rafalski at the Sabres blue line to key the rush that Pominville finished at 5:29.

"That last goal sealed the deal for them," Brodeur said. "They capitalized by putting pressure on our defense. They went for that third goal when it was 2-0 and they got it. Give them credit. They got another break and they put it in."

Miller seemed to have his fourth shutout in hand until Rasmussen scored with 39.1 seconds remaining. Rasmussen chopped the puck out of the air and into the net, forcing a video review before the goal was ruled good.

"I thought he hit it with a high stick," Miller said. "They took long enough, so hopefully the review went to Toronto for the right call. Shutouts come and go. The most important thing is that we came in here and got the win."

Gionta closed the scoring with 19 seconds remaining.

The Devils outshot the Sabres 15-8 in the first period and had the two best scoring chances. Jamie Langenbrunner hit the post about six minutes in and Gionta couldn't deposit a rebound into a wide-open left half of the net in the final minute.

"I thought the first period was as good as we've had," Devils coach Claude Julien said. "Later, we had a few breakdowns. They made us pay dearly for the mistakes we did make."


  • Two players who missed practice Monday were in the lineup. Afinogenov rested a sore groin while the Devils gave Rafalski a day off to rest.
  • For Buffalo, co-captain Chris Drury missed the game with the flu and defenseman Teppo Numminen sat out a second game with a broken toe.
  • Brodeur is 21-13-5 against Buffalo.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Maxim Afinogenov beats Martin Brodeur early in the third period for a 2-0 Sabres lead.  (Getty Images)
Maxim Afinogenov beats Martin Brodeur early in the third period for a 2-0 Sabres lead. (Getty Images)
Buffalo  (23-5-2) «0123
New Jersey (17-10-2)0022
Three Stars
D. Briere

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3
R. Miller

Saves: 31
Save Pct.: .939
M. Afinogenov

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

October 3, 2017
Sabres sign Jack Eichel to eight-year contract extension (0:41)
November 12, 2017
NHL Power Rankings (11/12)
November 5, 2017
NHL Power Rankings (11/5)
October 12, 2017
The NHL Rundown (10/12)
Scoring Summary
12:05Jochen Hecht (7), Slap Shot - Assist: Daniel Briere
03:12Maxim Afinogenov (13), Slap Shot - Assist: Daniel Briere
05:29Jason Pominville (14), Slap Shot - Assists: Daniel Briere, Dmitri Kalinin
19:20Erik Rasmussen (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Jim Dowd, Brad Lukowich
19:41Brian Gionta (13), Slap Shot - Assists: Patrik Elias, John Madden
Penalty Summary
00:32Zajac: Holding - 2 min.
02:08Miller: Delay of Game - 2 min.
05:04Oduya: High sticking - 2 min.
12:20Langenbrunner: Hooking - 2 min.
00:47Hecht: Holding - 2 min.
10:50Gionta: High sticking - 2 min.
13:47Elias: Tripping - 2 min.
16:48Campbell: Tripping - 2 min.
19:52Langenbrunner: Hooking - 2 min.
19:52Langenbrunner: Game Misconduct - 10 min.
19:52Langenbrunner: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
New Jersey1581033
Ryan Miller59:55312
Martin Brodeur59:29213
Attendance - 11156
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Kerry Fraser, Dan O'Rourke
Line Judges - Pat Dapuzzo, Steve Miller
Other Games
NYR 3 Final
Phi 1
TB 4 Final
Tor 5
Bos 3 Final
Mon 4
Ana 5 Final
Fla 4
Ott 3 Final
Det 2
Chi 3 Final
StL 2
Edm 2 Final
Nash 3
Colu 3 Final
Dal 1
Min 2 Final
Cal 5
Pho 2 Final
Van 5
SJ 3 Final
LA 1