Gerbe seals Sabres 3-2 SO win over Devils
- Article by: JOHN WAWROW
- Associated Press
- April 7, 2013 - 9:44 PM
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Nathan Gerbe scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 victory Sunday night over New Jersey that extended the Devils' losing streak to seven games.
Ryan Miller stopped 37 shots through overtime, and all three shootout attempts — included a victory-clinching glove save on Travis Zajac.
Steve Ott extended his goal streak to three games, and Patrick Kaleta also scored for Buffalo, which won its third straight.
Steve Sullivan and Mark Fayne, who forced overtime with a short-handed goal, scored for the Devils, who are 0-3-4 in their past seven. That is their longest winless streak since going 0-4-2-1 from Nov. 10-23, 2001.
The Devils' loss clinched a playoff spot for the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins and the West-leading Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday became the first teams to secure berths.
New Jersey (15-14-10), 1-5-6 in its past 12 road games, is 6-12-7 following a 9-2-3 start. The Devils haven't won since star forward Ilya Kovalchuk injured a shoulder.
The Sabres (16-17-6) jumped ahead of idle Philadelphia and into 11th place in the East, two points behind the ninth-place Devils.
Gerbe scored on the Sabres' second shootout attempt by snapping a shot that beat Martin Brodeur low on the glove side. Miller made his best stop on the Devils' next attempt when he kicked out his right pad at the last moment to stop Patrik Elias.
Brodeur finished with 24 saves, including stopping all four shots he faced in overtime. His best stop came with 70 seconds left in the extra frame, when he held his ground and protected the right side to foil Drew Stafford, who was driving in on a 2-on-1 break.
New Jersey's skid has coincided with the absence of forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who missed his seventh game with a shoulder injury. Before the game, general manager Lou Lamoriello said "it won't be long" before Kovalchuk resumes skating.
Fayne tied it at 2 at 5:46 of the third period while the Devils were killing a penalty. Dainius Zubrus did much of the work by being allowed to lug the puck untouched into the Sabres end. He circled behind the Buffalo net and fed a pass into a the high slot to Fayne, who snapped in his first goal in 49 games.
The Sabres experienced considerable difficulty getting the puck out of their zone. The Devils were beating the Sabres to loose pucks, and were pinching in their defensemen to deny the Sabres from clearing passes.
Buffalo was having such a tough time controlling the puck in the second period that fans began cheering whenever the Sabres got the puck past their blue line.
Held to four shots in the first period, the Sabres were outshot 18-8 through 32 minutes. The momentum shifted after Buffalo's John Scott leveled David Clarkson with a hit at the right circle.
Buffalo managed six shots over the next two minutes, including Ott's go-ahead goal to cap a tic-tac-toe play.
The goal came on the ensuing rush after Miller got his paddle down to stop Steve Bernier, who was set up alone in front after defenseman Tyler Myers turned the puck over in his own corner.
Kaleta opened the scoring 4:22 in off of defenseman Andy Greene's turnover in his zone. It was Kaleta's first goal in 54 games and first point in 40, dating to March 7, 2012.
The Devils capitalized on their first power play with 1:40 left in the first period. Myers' weak clearing attempt behind his net was picked off by Bernier, who set up Sullivan in front.
The goal came a half-minute after Sullivan was set up for a one-timer in the left circle, but his shot went just wide. His goal was his first in two games since returning to New Jersey, after being acquired in a trade with Phoenix on Wednesday.
NOTES: The Sabres have allowed a league-high seven short-handed goals. The Devils have scored a league-best 10. ... Devils D Henrik Tallinder and LW Alexei Ponikarovsky were healthy scratches. ... Sabres RW Thomas Vanek missed his sixth straight game with an upper body injury. ... The Devils entered the game having scored three or more goals only twice in 11. ... Of Kaleta's 27 career goals, four have come against New Jersey, his most against any team.
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