NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Coming out of the All-Star break, New Jersey is starting to play like a team that wants to get back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
The Devils are 3-0-1 since the break after stopping a seven-game home losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sables on Monday night.
''It's something we talked about before the game,'' said coach John Hynes, whose team will be off for the next five days and then play seven of its next eight games at the Prudential Center. ''It's nice to get the air out of the balloon on that one.''
It was New Jersey's first win at home since Jan. 2.
''It's important but more important is the way we played tonight,'' said Cory Schneider, who made 22 saves. ''You can't always guarantee a win no matter how well you play, but I thought we did a lot of things really well and we deserved to win in my opinion and we got rewarded.''
Pavel Zacha provided the game-winner with a contested power-play goal with 7:27 remaining. Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma argued that Adam Henrique interfered with Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner, who finished with 37 saves.
Mike Cammalleri took a shot from the right point and Lehner could not glove on the high shot because Henrique appeared to hit the base of his glove with his stick.
''It's a puck above the crossbar,'' Bylsma said. ''Robin goes up to catch it and their guy puts a stick into it and I think prevents Robin from catching the puck.''
Lehner said Henrique touched his glove but he felt it was not enough to have the goal overturned. He was more upset with the Sabres' performance.
''Schneider had an easy game today,'' Lehner said. ''Like I said, it is up to us in this room to get things going and today we didn't get things going.''
Henrique also scored a power-play goal for New Jersey, and Cammalleri had two assists. Tyler Ennis scored for the Sabres.
Badly outplayed in the first two periods, the Sabres tied it on a bad-angle goal. Ennis took a shot from the corner along the goal line and Schneider had it hit off his stick and go in the net with 11:21 left in regulation.
Buffalo nearly took the lead about two minutes later when Sam Reinhart had a deflection hit the post.
Kane also was in the penalty box when Henrique got his fourth goal in the last five games.
Lehner kept the Sabres in the game in the first two periods, stopping 28 shots. The goaltender was at his best in the second period when the Devils matched their season high with 19 shots.
NOTES: New Jersey won all three games against the Sabres this season. ... Devils D Kyle Quincey was sidelined by an upper-body injury, only the third game he has missed. ... D Karl Stollery was recalled from Albany of the AHL. ... The Sabres signed D Justin Falk to a $600,000, one-year contract extension and claimed F Derek Grant off waivers from Nashville. He was assigned to Rochester of the AHL. ... New Jersey's other 19-shot period was against Carolina on Nov. 18.
Sabres: Host San Jose on Tuesday night.
Devils: Play host on Sunday to San Jose, which will be ending a four-game East Coast swing.
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