NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at New Jersey
(Wednesday, February 25th)
Final Score: New Jersey 8, Buffalo 2
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Patrik Elias scored two goals and assisted on three others, leading the New Jersey Devils to an 8-2 rout of the Buffalo Sabres at the Meadowlands.
Jay Pandolfo and Brian Gionta each chipped in two goals for the Devils, who have won three straight. Brian Rafalski and Jeff Friesen also scored in the victory.
New Jersey's eight goals marked a season high, topping the seven the team scored just four days ago against the New York Rangers. Martin Brodeur made 20 saves to earn his 30th victory of the season, making him the first goaltender in NHL history to record 30 wins in nine consecutive years.
"It's a pretty good accomplishment," said Brodeur. "Usually I don't care about what's going on, but this one is something nice. A lot of things go into it. Durability and the success of my career really shows in this record."
Derek Roy and Maxim Afinogenov each notched a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which has lost two straight on the heels of a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1).
"I just thought we were poor everywhere," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "We were poor defensively. Our defense didn't get much done. Our goaltending wasn't up to par. And when you only have one line in on the scoring, you don't win."
The Devils took the lead for good with a pair of goals just under two minutes apart late in the first period.
Gionta scored his first of the game with 3:47 left in the stanza, flipping in the rebound of a Paul Martin shot to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead. Pandolfo then scored shorthanded just 1:51 later, knocking home a John Madden feed to finish off a 2-on-1 break.
The Sabres scored on the same power play a minute later when Afinogenov ripped a shot from the left circle past Brodeur for his 14th goal.
The Devils then took control with a pair of late second-period tallies.
Pandolfo scored his second of the game and 11th of the season with 1:44 left. Turner Stevenson and Madden did the dirty work behind the Buffalo net, with Madden emerging from the scrum with the puck in the right corner. Madden spotted a wide open Pandolfo, who blasted a shot from the right circle that deflected past Buffalo goaltender Mika Noronen.
Rafalski made it 5-2 with less than a second remaining in the period, as his wrister from the center point beat a screened Noronen. The play was reviewed, but 7/10ths of a second still remained when the puck crossed the goal line.
Gionta then posted his second of the game and 17th of the season at 2:47 of the third period, scoring from the left side of the crease off a feed from Scott Gomez behind the net.
Friesen followed with his 14th goal just 20 seconds later, as his pass from the left circle deflected off a Buffalo defender's skate before going into the net.
Elias finished the rout with a power-play goal late in the third, knocking home the rebound of a Scott Niedermayer point shot.
The teams traded goals early in the first period, as Elias gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead just 1:29 into the game with his 26th goal and Roy scored his third just 33 seconds later for Buffalo.
Elias has two goals in each of his last three games and 11 points in that span...Rafalski assisted on Elias' first-period goal for the 200th point of his career...Gomez had three assists and has 12 in his last five games...Recently-retired Patrick Roy shared the record of eight straight 30- win seasons with Brodeur...The Devils won the season series 3-0-1 and are 7-0-3 in their last 10 meetings with the Sabres.
02/26 00:10:17 ET