Andy Greene's (l.) second of the season held up until the final two minutes of regulation. Patrik Elias secured victory in the shootout.
newjerseydevils.com (Jan. 8) – Patrik Elias was clutch once again.
Elias notched the deciding goal in the third round of the shootout to send the Devils to their second consecutive 2-1 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center on Tuesday night.
On the day he was named the starting goaltender for the 2008 Eastern Conference All-Stars, Martin Brodeur carried a shutout into the final two minutes of regulation before stopping two of three in the shootout for his 22nd win.
The three-time Vezina Trophy winner finished the night with 23 saves, including three in the extra session, as the Devils extended Buffalo's winless streak to seven games.
Brian Gionta also scored in the shootout for New Jersey, which improved to 13-5 on home ice with its fifth straight win in Newark.
"It was a hard-fought game," Devils' head coach Brent Sutter said. "It was a game where neither team wanted to give up much... We stayed with it, our power play produced."
Elias was the sixth and final shooter, and sealed it with his first shootout attempt of the season – a wrist shot that beat Ryan Miller to his stick side. The former 40-goal scorer leads the Devils with five game-winning goals, two of which have come in overtime.
Elias also set up New Jersey's only regulation goal of the contest to extend his points streak to three games (1g-3a-4pts).
"Patty tonight had been playing well, and we thought let's let him do it, let him shoot tonight," Sutter said. "We may not have used him as much in the past, but we thought tonight was a good night for him to shoot simply because he played a good game again."
With their third shootout win of the season (3-1), the Devils stay one point ahead of Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic Division, and three ahead of Carolina for second place in the Eastern Conference.
The Devils took a 1-0 lead on Andy Greene's second of the season from Elias and Mike Mottau with 3:37 left in the first period.
Greene's power-play goal was the end result of a backdoor pass from Elias, who was stationed along the right boards.
Gionta started the play while down on the ice, chipping the puck from the right corner back to Greene at the left point. The rookie defenseman passed across to Mottau, then slipped behind Buffalo's penalty killers to redirect a perfect feed from Elias.
The Devils' power play finished the night 1-for-3, collecting its fourth goal in as many games.
Brodeur kept Buffalo off the board in a scoreless second period, robbing Ales Kotalik with 6:42 remaining.
Kotalik got loose at the top of the crease to one-time Thomas Vanek's pass from behind the net, but Brodeur flashed his catching glove to keep the score 1-0.
Jason Pominville's 10th of the season, off an odd-man rush from Clarke MacArthur and Jochen Hecht, thwarted Brodeur's shutout bid with 1:47 left in regulation.
Brodeur had gone 133:07 since allowing Jay Bouwmeester's third-period marker on Jan. 2.
The Devils (24-15-3) improved to 2-0 in the season series against the Sabres. The two teams meet again Saturday night in Buffalo and close out the series on Feb. 6 at HSBC Arena.
NJD NOTES Zach Parise posted the shootout winner in the Devils' 2-1 decision over Buffalo on Dec. 28 at Prudential Center... Tuesday's scratch was Sheldon Brookbank... Cam Janssen (shoulder), Jay Pandolfo (groin) and Karel Rachunek (sore ankle) remain sidelined.
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