|The Devils' John Madden and David Clarkson congratulate teammate Mike Mottau after his game-tying goal. New Jersey went on to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout.
Mike Mottau's first goal since October got New Jersey even late in the third period, and Zach Parise scored the only goal in the shootout, giving the Devils a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Prudential Center on Friday night. The Devils have won three in a row despite scoring just five goals — because they’ve allowed just two.
Brodeur, fresh off a 1-0 overtime win at Calgary on Sunday in the Devils' previous game, stopped 26 shots and three shootout attempts. That trumped Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, who was named the game’s No. 1 star after stopping 34 shots, including Arron Asham’s first-period penalty shot ( 700K ), but allowing the only goal in the shootout.
''I thought I had him tonight,'' Miller said of Brodeur after falling to 2-6-1 lifetime against the Devils. ''Both of us were making some saves. He got on a couple of rebounds we probably would want back, but that's the way it goes when you play New Jersey.''
The Devils were the last team to resume play after the Christmas break, but showed no ill effects from the layoff. They outshot Buffalo 13-2 in the opening period, but couldn’t beat Miller.
''We've been home for four days. There'd better not be any jet lag,'' said forward Patrik Elias, who finished a game-high eight shots. ''We had a pretty hard practice (Thursday). Any way we'd be sluggish, we got it out of our system.''
The Sabres, coming off a home loss to Ottawa on Wednesday, took the lead at 4:36 of the second period when Ales Kotalik’s slap shot from the far right circle hit the left post and beat Brodeur for his 12th of the season and third in four games ( 700K ).
Buffalo outshot the Devils 13-6 in the second but couldn’t take advantage of two power plays, and the Devils regrouped at intermission.
“In the second period, we fell off a little bit but Marty kept us in it,” captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. “We came back and did the things we needed to do in the third period.”
But they still couldn’t find a way to beat Miller until Colin White’s shot from the left point missed on the short side and caromed off the backboards. Mottau raced in from the right point and backhanded the puck into the net with 6:23 left for his first goal in 30 games ( 700K ).
''It's tough, but Mottau made a nice play,'' said Miller, who made his 10th straight start and 15th consecutive appearance.
In the shootout, Brodeur made a spectacular poke check to deny Kotalik. Parise, returning from the flu, beat Miller over the glove, and Brodeur stopped Tim Connolly’s backhander and Thomas Vanek’s slap shot from 10 feet to win the game.
“The puck could have gone anywhere,” Brodeur said of Vanek’s unusual decision to wind up and fire away. “I just tried to stay compact, and it hit my glove.”
Buffalo earned a point but dropped its second straight following six consecutive wins. The Sabres had won four in a row on the road.
''When you have a lead with that amount of time left, it's a point but it's not a good one,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. ''We had hoped to lock it down, and we didn't.''
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media were used in this report.