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Pominville leads surging Sabres over Devils
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Jason Pominville followed up a two-goal performance in regulation with the shootout winner, as the suddenly surging Buffalo Sabres topped the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, at First Niagara Center.
After the Sabres failed on two power-play chances - albeit one was abbreviated - in overtime, Pominville snapped a shot past the glove of New Jersey goaltender Johan Hedberg to begin the tiebreaker.
Ilya Kovalchuk, playing in his 800th NHL game, then missed the net with Buffalo's Ryan Miller down and out of position.
The Sabres' second shooter, Tyler Ennis, beat Hedberg on the blocker side to start the second round, meaning it was up to Adam Henrique, who was involved in a skirmish with Ennis at the end of overtime, to extend the shootout.
Henrique had scored on a shorthanded breakaway, the first of four third-period goals between the teams, but Miller prevailed the second time around and sealed Buffalo's third straight win with a glove save.
Miller finished with 28 saves for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game home skid.
Hedberg made 20 saves for a New Jersey club that has lost four in a row.
"I thought we played well last game, it just didn't go our way. I thought we carried that into tonight for parts of the game," Henrique said.
Each team rallied from a one-goal deficit in a back-and-forth third period that began with Buffalo on a power play.
Henrique put New Jersey up 2-1 at the 1:21 mark, but Pominville tapped in a Cody Hodgson's cross-ice pass for the equalizer at 3:10.
"We're getting more resilient as a team now and I think that's a good sign for us," said Buffalo interim head coach Ron Rolston.
Jochen Hecht then gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead at 9:47. He collected Mikhail Grigorenko's pass from behind the net and flipped a backhander that bounced in off the back of Hedberg.
The Devils, like the Sabres did when they fell behind, had a quick response, as an uncovered Andrei Loktionov took a backhand feed from Stefan Matteau and slid the puck past Miller's right pad at 11:22.
The ice was tilted in favor of the Devils, who owned a sizeable shot advantage when Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers went off for cross-checking at the 7:02 mark of the second period.
New Jersey, however, surrendered a shorthanded goal 15 seconds into subsequent power play.
Pominville scored after Hodgson emerged with possession following a puck battle and fed him a pass from below the icing line for a shot from the right circle.
The Devils pulled even shortly after Myers' penalty expired. Stephen Gionta worked the puck to the point and Mark Fayne fired a shot that wound up going in off Steve Bernier at 9:24.
Buffalo played without leading point-getter Thomas Vanek (upper-body injury) ... Sabres forward Brian Flynn made his NHL debut after being called up from the Rochester Americans of the AHL on Friday ... The Devils fell to 0-0-4 against the Northeast Division this season.
03/02 20:11:17 ET
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