Sabres 2, Devils 0 (F)
Miller managed to keep Parise off the scoresheet – something few netminders have done this season.
Missing the backbone of their defense, it was the Devils' offense that came up short against Buffalo on Monday.
Goaltender Martin Brodeur
missed his first regular-season start in 52 games, but the Devils misfired on seven power-play chances en route to a 2-0 loss to the Sabres at Prudential Center.
Buffalo's Ryan Miller needed 24 saves to hand New Jersey its first shutout of the season. Miller, who entered the game with a league-leading 1.82 GAA, recorded his second straight shutout.
|Shaquille O'Neal joined Devils' owner Jeff Vanderbeek and former defenseman Ken Daneyko at Monday's game.
Jason Pominville and Patrick Kaleta scored for the Sabres, who beat the Devils in regulation for the first time in five meetings. All four games between the teams last season went to the shootout, with New Jersey winning three times.
Devils' back-up Kevin Weekes made his first start of 2008-09 and kept New Jersey within striking distance all night long. Weekes posted 19 of his 28 stops in the first period, helping the Devils to survive an early surge by the Sabres.
Weekes was named the game's Third Star and earned praise for his play from head coach Brent Sutter.
"He gave us a chance to win," Sutter said. "He played well, he kept us in the game, especially the first 28 minutes. I thought that in the first period, he was outstanding. Again, I thought he gave us the opportunity to have the chance to win or at least he got us the chance. That's what you need from your goaltender. I thought he played very well."
Brodeur, a four-time Vezina Trophy winner, is sidelined by a bruised elbow suffered in Saturday's 6-1 win over Atlanta. There is no timetable set for his return.
Also absent from the New Jersey lineup Monday was defenseman Paul Martin, who missed his first game with an upper body injury. Martin joined Brian Rolston
(ankle sprain), Bobby Holik (broken pinky), Andy Greene
(broken hand) and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
(nasal fracture) as Devils affected by the injury bug.
Martin was replaced by rookie blueliner Anssi Salmela
, who tied for a team-high four shots in the game and led all Devils with 9:53 of power-play time.
New Jersey (6-3-2) lost for the second time on its four-game homestand, which concludes Wednesday against Tampa. The club slipped to 3-2-1 in Newark.
Weekes was tested early and often, as the Devils were outshot 20-3 in the first period. The Devils were 33.4 seconds away from escaping with a scoreless tie when Pominville connected on the Sabres' fifth power play of the period.
Pominville took a cross-slot pass from Jaroslav Spacek for a one-timer at the left circle that beat Weekes at 19:26. The goal was Pominville's fourth of the season.
"I thought we stood around," Sutter said of his team's effort in the opening frame. "We weren't active and when you do that, you don't play smart. We had [five] minor penalties in the first period against a good hockey team like that, that can create offense. They made it happen in the first period. I give [Buffalo] full marks for the way they played."
The Devils were better in the second, using two minutes of a 4-on-4 and three power plays to test Miller. The Devils outshot the Sabres 12-5, and nearly tied the contest at 2:45 when Patrik Elias
caught iron from the right side.
After handing the Sabres five power plays in the first, the Devils took only one penalty – Brian Gionta's second-period tripping minor – over the last 40 minutes of regulation.
The Devils came up short, however, despite six power plays in two periods, including 21 seconds of a two-man advantage in the third. But it wasn't for lack of trying.
"Once we got playing in the second, the majority of our guys played very well for the last half of the game," Sutter said. "We just had to get our feet moving and get going. Then we created some offense. It just didn't seem that we had a whole lot of bounces in the end. Things just weren't happening for us around th net. I thought the last 32 minutes of the game, we did a good job. We just didn't score."
New Jersey limited Buffalo to just 10 shots over the last two periods, but could not solve Miller, who stopped 12 shots in the second and nine more in the third to seal it.
Kaleta's first of the year gave the Sabres some breathing room in the final frame.
Paul Gaustad won an offensive zone draw back to Spacek at the left point for a pass across to Andrej Sekera. Kaleta redirected Sekera's shot past Weekes at 7:41.
Several Devils saw their scoring streaks come to an end Monday, including leading scorer Zach Parise
(9g-5a-14pts). The left winger's goal streak was snapped after seven tallies in six straight games, as he was held without a point for just the second time in 11 games this season.
|Daneyko with Pierce (l.) and Burress of the New York Giants.
Phoenix Suns' center and Newark native Shaquille O'Neal was in attendance Monday night, as were New York Giants stars Plaxico Burress and Antonio Pierce. O'Neal's Suns play the Nets Tuesday at the Meadowlands... Goaltender Scott Clemmensen was called up from Lowell (AHL) and backed up Weekes... The Devils were shutout 11 times in 2007-08.
|Three star selections