Devils beat Buffalo, 3-2
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Martin Brodeur stopped 35 shots - including 21 in the third period alone - to turn back the Buffalo Sabres' furious rally and secure the New Jersey Devils' 3-2 victory Saturday night.
Jamie Langenbrunner had a goal and assist, putting the Devils on the verge of clinching their fifth Atlantic Division title this decade. New Jersey enters the final week of the season a point or a Philadelphia loss away from winning the division.
Zach Parise and David Clarkson also scored in helping the Devils snap a six-game road skid (0-5-1).
New Jersey (49-26-4) also matched a franchise record for victories set in 2006-07.
Jochen Hecht and Clarke MacArthur scored for the Sabres, who had a 4-0-1 skid snapped and squandered a great opportunity to put themselves firmly in the hunt for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff berth. With four games left, Buffalo remains in 10th place, four points behind the eight-place New York Rangers, who lost to Boston earlier in the day.
Brodeur was solid in stopping the first 21 shots he faced, in helping the Devils build a 3-0 lead through two periods. And then he shut the door as the Sabres peppered him with 23 shots in the final 20 minutes.
He made a great glove save on Thomas Vanek at the right post late in the first period. Then there was his sprawling save on Adam Mair's deflection of Paul Gaustad's shot from the right boards early in the third.
The Devils, coming off a 5-4 overtime win against Tampa Bay on Friday night, got off to a quick start by scoring twice on their first four shots on net.
Clarkson opened the scoring 2:28 in when his shot from the top of the right circle floated through a crowd to beat Ryan Miller.
Parise made it 2-0 with a power-play goal by tipping in Paul Martin's shot from the blue line.
Langenbrunner then sealed it with a workmanlike goal 7 minutes into the second period. He set up the goal by first checking Andrej Sekera off the puck to the left of the Sabres net. After attempting to set up Bobby Holik in front, Langenbrunner got to the loose puck and slipped it in through Miller's legs.
Miller was pulled after two periods, in which he allowed three goals on 22 shots. It's expected that coach Lindy Ruff was attempting to provide his team a spark and also give Miller a rest with the Sabres preparing to close their season by playing four games in six days.
Notes: Devils backup G Kevin Weekes is expected to miss at least two weeks with a left leg injury after being hurt in a 5-4 OT win over Tampa Bay on Friday. Scott Clemmensen, 25-13-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average in 40 games for the Devils this season, was recalled from Lowell of the AHL. ... Devils D Niclas Havelid did not play because of a lower body injury, while LW Patrik Elias (leg) missed his third straight game. ... Sabres RW Jason Pominville played in his 300th career game. ... Sabres backup G Mikael Tellqvist stopped all six shots he face in relief of Miller. ... Sabres gritty forward Patrick Kaleta missed the third period with an upper body injury.
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