Cory Schneider made a season-high 45 saves, and Pavel Zacha scored the game-winning goal as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-1 at the Prudential Center.
Zacha’s game-winner came on the man-advantage for New Jersey, as Vladimir Sobotka was in the box for hooking. The Sabres penalty kill looked quite effective during this kill until the final 30 seconds when New Jersey was able to hold the puck in and work it along the boards. Zacha corralled the puck and fired a shot past Linus Ullmark for his 12th goal of the season. Miles Wood provided an excellent screen on the play, and the Devils augmented their lead to 2-1 at that point.
It was the second power-play goal the Sabres allowed on the evening. Blake Coleman was able to sneak his 22nd goal of the year past Linus Ullmark early in the first period. Coleman walked his way from the corner to the front of the net, where Rasmus Ristolainen neglected to come across and pick him up, and Coleman was able to slide the puck under Ullmark for the game’s opening tally.
Sam Reinhart was the lone goal-scorer for Buffalo, as he took what looked like a harmless shot from center ice, that took several funny hops on the way to Schneider, and popped over the goaltender’s pad and under the glove to tie the game at one.
That was all the Sabres could muster on the scoreboard for the evening, but it wasn’t for lack of shots to the net. Buffalo was one shot off of its season-high total of 47 shots, but Cory Schneider stood tall on 45 of the 46 attempts to dent the twine. Many of the shots were from along the boards or from the point, but the Sabres did put significant zone-pressure on New Jersey all evening long.
Buffalo did think that they tied the score in the third period with yet another tally by Sam Reinhart. The puck was shot in from the point, and caromed off of a leg in front, directly to Reinhart, who deposited the puck in the open side to seemingly tie the game at 2. New Jersey challenged the play on the basis of goaltender interference. After the review, the officials deemed that Evan Rodrigues did interfere with Cory Schneider when he backed into him and made minor contact.
Linus Ullmark was not tested nearly as much, making 18 saves on 20 shots, with both of New Jersey’s “regulation” goals coming with the man-advantage. (Miles Wood added an empty-net goal to round out the scoring)
The Sabres road swing will continue Tuesday night in Ottawa, as the Sabres will take on the Senators from the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, ON. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30, P.M.