NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Scott Gomez and Jacob Josefson scored in the shootout and Cory Schneider was not beaten on both Buffalo attempts as the New Jersey Devils snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the woeful Sabres on Tuesday night.
Patrik Elias scored for the Devils in the first period and Schneider finished with 24 saves as New Jersey ended a season-tying skid.
Tyler Ennis tallied in the third period for the Sabres, who have lost four straight and 19 of 21. Michal Neuvirth had 34 saves, including 17 in the third period and the overtime in his 11th straight decision.
Adam Henrique blew a chance to give the Devils the lead with 3:27 left in regulation when he failed to hit the net on a penalty shot after being taken down by defenseman Zach Bogosian on a breakaway.
Gomez and Josefson both beat Neuvirth with backhand shots.
After Gomez scored on the first attempt, Matt Moulson of the Sabres missed the net. Ennis had a chance to keep the Sabres alive but he flubbed his shot and Schneider had no problem stopping it.
The loss was only the Sabres’ second in eight shootouts this year, not bad for the worst team in the league. The Devils are 4-6 in shootouts.
Ennis tied the game 27 seconds into the third period after Zemgus Girgensons pushed a faceoff deep in the Devils’ end forward. Ennis jumped on it and beat Schneider with a quick shot for his 14th goal.
Marek Zidlicky set up the Devils’ goal with a pass from the left point that Elias redirected pass Neuvirth with his back to the goaltender.
The Devils probably should have had a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Jaromir Jagr and Gomez failed to get off a shot on a 2-on-0 break. Gomez set up Jagr in close for a what looked like a shot at an open net, but the 43-year-old who has 716 career goals got cute, and his return pass to Gomez for a slam dunk did not connect.
After generating little offense in the first period, the Sabres had a couple of good chances in a 12-shot second stanza. Schneider made a pad save on Matt Ellis in close after Cody Hodgson negated an icing and found his teammate in front.
Girgenson missed an open net on a rebound early in a power play and Schneider stopped a redirection by Chris Stewart seconds later.
Neuvirth also came up big in the period, stopping a shot by Elias from between the circles and stoning Jordin Tootoo from point-blank range roughly 30 seconds later.
NOTES: Devils F Stephen Gionta played in his first game since breaking his left hand in late December. … Zajac played in his 600th NHL game, all with New Jersey. … Sabres D Josh Gorges and F Patrick Kaleta seemingly are going to be sidelined for a while with undisclosed lower body injuries. Kaleta needs surgery. Gorges is still being evaluated.
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