The Devils defend Drew Stafford in Saturday's action.
newjerseydevils.com – Back-to-back wins have turned the Devils' recent losing slump into something of a distant memory.
One night after snapping their six-game skid against Tampa Bay, the Devils stormed the Sabres with two goals in the first six minutes and held on Saturday for a 3-2 triumph in Buffalo.
Zach Parise scored his team-leading 44th goal of the season, and Jamie Langenbrunner added his 28th for his third tally in the last two games. David Clarkson also scored for the Devils, who recorded consecutive wins for the first time since taking four in a row from March 10-17.
The Devils built a 3-0 lead to chase starting netminder Ryan Miller before the Sabres came back in the third period.
Jochen Hecht put Buffalo on the board six minutes into the final frame and Clarke MacArthur made it a one-goal game with 3:52 remaining. The Devils caught a break when Derek Roy's redirection missed the net with just under two minutes left in regulation.
"That's what playoff games are going to be like," said head coach Brent Sutter, whose club won for the first time in seven road games. "Do we want to give up that many shots in the third? No. But there were some perimeter shots, too. They threw everything to the net that they possibly could, but you knew they were going to do that.
Colin White was whistled for delay of game after putting the puck over the glass with 34.1 seconds left. John Madden beat Roy on a pair of key defensive zone draws, and Paul Martin broke up the Sabres' last rush at the Devils' blueline with less than 10 seconds to go.
Martin Brodeur got the start and posted 35 saves for career win No. 555. After his seven saves in relief of Kevin Weekes yielded Friday's 5-4 overtime win over the Lightning, Brodeur helped New Jersey survive a third period in which they were outshot 23-6.
"We started really well, and they didn't wake up until the third – good thing," Brodeur told MSG Plus. "There was definitely a great atmostphere in the building, especially when they scored that first goal. The fans were into it; their team was into it. We played a little back on our heels for our liking, but we still pulled it off. These types of efforts are important."
Weekes, who left Friday's game in the second period, is expected to miss two to three weeks with a knee injury. The Devils recalled backup Scott Clemmensen from Lowell (AHL) on Saturday.
The first-place Devils (49-26-4) have rebounded offensively with eight goals in the last two games after scoring only seven in six straight defeats. Jersey's Team tied the franchise mark for wins set in 2006-07, and moved closer to finishing in the Atlantic Division's top spot for the eighth time in 12 seasons.
The Devils have four games remaining in the regular season, which continues Tuesday against Toronto at Prudential Center. New Jersey visits Ottawa Thursday then closes out the 2008-09 schedule at home Sunday versus Carolina.
Clarkson gave the Devils the start they wanted 2:28 into the contest when he scored his 16th on a wristshot from the top of the right circle.
Parise's second goal and fourth point in two games (2g-2a) put New Jersey ahead by two. With Roy serving two for his high-stick on Madden, Martin fired a shot from the blueline that Parise deflected top-shelf from the slot at 5:38.
With 93 points, Parise needs three to match Patrik Elias' single-season record. Parise has already surpassed Alexander Mogilny for the fourth-highest goal total in club history, one behind John MacLean in third place.
In the second period, Langenbrunner used a hard-working play to make it a three-goal advantage. Langenbrunner's forecheck created a turnover deep in Buffalo territory, and the captain walked the puck to the front of the net to bang it past Miller at 7:04.
Miller allowed three goals on 22 shots and was pulled after 40 minutes in favor of backup Mikael Tellqvist, who stopped six of six.
Brodeur carried a shutout into the third, when Hecht got his 11th of the season on a backhander inside the left post at 6:03. Brodeur was bumped by Drew Stafford on the play, and thought a whistle should have come from the referees.
"It kind of set me back about a foot, two feet, from my original position," Brodeur said. "[Hecht] shot at the same time, and I couldn't really react because the post was in my way. Sometimes they don't deserve penalties, but I think a whistle for incidental contact would be important, especially in important games. They should be able to let me play the way I want to play."
MacArthur's 17th put the Sabres within a goal. He collected Craig Rivet's cross-ice pass at the left circle, and made a move around Martin before tucking the puck around Brodeur at 16:18.
NJD NOTES Niclas Havelid (lower body) missed Saturday's game and was replaced in the lineup by Andy Greene. ... Elias (lower body) missed his third straight game.
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