Devils 2, Sabres 1 (F/SO)
Mike Mottau's goal at 13:37 of the third period knotted the contest at 1-1.
newjerseydevils.com (Dec. 28) –
A classic goaltenders duel came down to a shootout. When the smoke had cleared, Martin Brodeur
pumped his blocker to punctuate the win in front of a sellout crowd.
Brodeur made 26 saves and stopped all three of Buffalo's shootout attempts as the Devils topped the Sabres, 2-1, at Prudential Center on Friday night.
beat Ryan Miller with a forehand shot inside the left post for the only goal of the shootout, snapping the Sabres' four-game road winning streak.
New Jersey (21-13-3) restored its five-point lead for first place in the Atlantic Division over Pittsburgh and the Rangers, and will look to protect that cushion Saturday night on Long Island.
The win also kept the Devils two points ahead of Carolina for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes edged the Bruins in Raleigh on Friday.
New Jersey improved to 2-1 in the shootout and 10-5-0 at home. Head coach Brent Sutter's group plays three of its next five contests at Prudential Center, including a Jan. 8 encore meeting with the Sabres.
Named the game's second star, Brodeur only had to make two saves in a scoreless first period largely dominated by the Devils, who put 13 shots on goal.
The Devils missed a prime opportunity to get on the board when Arron Asham was awarded New Jersey's first penalty shot of the season.
Asham was hauled down by Dmitri Kalinin on his way to the net at the 16:26 mark. On the ensuing penalty shot, Asham went high to the glove side with a wrister that Miller shouldered away for one of his 34 saves of the evening.
In the second period, Ales Kotalik put the Sabres ahead with his 12th of the season from Paul Gaustad and Daniel Paille at 4:36.
Paille started the play with a hard hit on Colin White
that created a turnover inside the Devils' zone. Kotalik was able to capitalize with a slapshot from the right side boards that beat Brodeur just inside the left post.
New Jersey didn't respond until Mike Mottau notched his second of the season from White and Sergei Brylin with six minutes left in regulation.
Mottau put a pass across to White for a shot from the left point, then drove toward the net. When White's shot went wide off the end boards, Mottau was able to put the carom through a sprawling Miller to tie the game at 1-1.
In the shootout, Brodeur pokechecked the puck away from Ales Kotalik, flashed his right pad to deny Tim Connolly, then took Thomas Vanek's final shot off the left shoulder to ice his 19th win of the season.
New Jersey won for just the fourth time this season when trailing after the second period (4-11-1).
The Devils' last penalty shot was an unsuccessful attempt off the stick of Erik Rasmussen against David Aebischer last Feb. 14... New Jersey's power play finished 0-for-2 and has connected just three times in its last 25 chances on home ice... Patrik Elias
, who had a handful of New Jersey's best opportunities in the opening period, registered a game-high eight shots... Friday's scratches were Jay Pandolfo, Karel Rachunek and Mike Rupp. Rachunek missed his second straight game with a sore ankle.
|Three star selections