NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Buffalo
(Wednesday, March 28th)
Final Score: Buffalo 4, New Jersey 3
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Jochen Hecht scored a pair of goals to guide the Buffalo Sabres past the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference at HSBC Arena.
Daniel Paille and Ales Kotalik celebrated their respective returns to the lineup with a goal each for Buffalo, which has 105 points and a comfortable seven-point lead over the Devils for first place in the conference. With the win, the Sabres pulled even with Nashville for most points in the league.
Kotalik had missed the previous 16 games with a knee injury, while Paille was sidelined for 15 contests with an injured hand.
Ryan Miller made 28 saves in a winning effort.
Zach Parise, Paul Martin and Scott Gomez all lit the lamp while Martin Brodeur finished with 19 stops for the Devils, who remain tied with idle Pittsburgh for first in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey currently holds the tiebreaker with one more win than the Penguins.
"It was good intensity for awhile there, matching each other's game as good playoff teams do," Brodeur said. "They just took advantage of some of the breakdowns we had in the third and they were able to bury it."
The Sabres opened up the scoring 1:55 into the second period. After some heavy pressure on net, Jason Pominville corralled the disc behind the goal line and sent it out to the point. Hecht then quickly unleashed a shot that navigated through a screen in front before slipping past Brodeur.
New Jersey knotted the game at 1-1 less than five minutes later, as Gomez found a Patrik Elias rebound in front and punched it into the cage.
The home team, though, netted back-to-back goals in the third to build a two- goal lead.
The first came at the 7:25 mark, when Paille corralled a long rebound in the high slot and slid a low shot past Brodeur.
With the Devils pressing minutes later, Buffalo broke out on a 3-on-2 and cashed in on the opportunity. Daniel Briere flew into the zone along the left wing and dished a backhand feed to the right side of the net, where Hecht tapped it in.
"I'm fortunate to get a couple goals. We played a consistent 60 minutes," Hochen said.
Martin's third goal of the season -- a backhander from between the circles -- cut the deficit to one with 6:11 on the clock.
Kotalik, however, fired a one-timer from the top of the left circle 2:03 later to reclaim the two-goal edge.
Parise scored with less than two seconds remaining in the game for the final margin.
The Devils are 23-14-3 as the visiting club this year, and wrapped up a five- game road swing...Both teams were just 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
03/29 00:47:15 ET