NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -Thomas Vanek and the
Buffalo Sabres withstood the New Jersey Devils' best punch in the
The Devils struck for two goals in a span
of just over 4 minutes, taking a 2-1 lead in a potential momentum
changer. The Sabres didn't get rattled, scoring the next three to
pull out a 4-2 victory Saturday night.
Vanek led the way with his NHL-leading
23rd and 24th goals.
``When they scored two, it crushed a
little bit of our energy,'' Vanek said. ``We slowly worked our way
back into it, and dominated the last 20 minutes.''
Derek Roy scored the go-ahead goal midway
through the third period, and Drew Stafford added a goal in the
Sabres' fourth win in their last five games.
Patrick Lalime, making his first
appearance in seven games, made 20 saves. Lalime improved to 2-4-1,
ending a personal five-game winless streak.
``From the first to last second, I think
we played a really good road game,'' Lalime said. ``We didn't give
them much, especially in the second period when we turned it
Patrik Elias and Bobby Holik scored for
New Jersey. The Devils had won four in a row and nine of their
previous 10 games.
``We really didn't control the puck
tonight,'' Elias said. ``For the most part we played into their
hands. Instead of calming down and controlling the game, we were a
Vanek got Buffalo rolling 1:10 into the
game, steering in the rebound of Jochen Hecht's backhander off Kevin
``He's doing a good job finishing,''
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. ``We did a good job of putting it away
when we got the key opportunities.''
It was a milestone goal for Buffalo: the
10,000th in franchise history.
In the second, Elias and Holik scored for
New Jersey before Stafford knotted the score at 2.
After taking a drop pass from Brian
Gionta, Elias beat Lalime from the left circle 58 seconds in. Holik
put the Devils up 2-1 with his first goal of the season at 5:09.
Holik was playing in his fourth game after missing 18 because of a
``It was a game for us to win and we
didn't,'' Holik said. ``I think we played right into their hands. I
think we had a great opportunity to continue our streak but we
didn't play smart enough.''
The Sabres cashed in the first power play
of the game as Stafford buried Nathan Gerbe's rebound at 11:05.
In the third, Roy put Buffalo ahead to
stay with a 4-on-3 power-play goal from the bottom of the right
circle at 8:43.
Vanek connected again at 12:54, and Lalime
preserved the win in the closing minutes with saves on Jamie
Langenbrunner and Brian Rolston.
It was the second game in two nights for
both teams. Buffalo dropped a 2-1 home decision to Toronto on Friday
night, and New Jersey beat the New York Rangers 8-5 at home after
blowing a four-goal lead.
Notes: The game closed out a
three-games-in-four-nights homestand for the Devils. They now hit
the road to play Toronto on Tuesday night and Buffalo on Wednesday
night. ... Travis Zajac was in the lineup for the Devils. He was
considered doubtful after absorbing a big open-ice hit Friday from
Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi. ... Weekes last played Nov. 21, a
5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Scott Clemmensen had gone 6-1