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Devils top Sabres, 3-1

Devils defeat the Sabres 3-1 on Monday night at Prudential Center.

by Amanda Stein @amandacstein /

Make that two game-winning goals in a row for New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha.

After scoring the shootout winner against Arizona on Saturday, Zacha's third-period goal against the Sabres on Monday night propelled New Jersey to a 3-1 victory over Buffalo. Zacha also added an assist on the Miles Wood insurance, an empty netter with less than two minutes to play.

The Devils power play found it's scoring touch, New Jersey had a successful coaches challenge which overturned a Buffalo goal and the Devils have strung together two consecutive home victories. New Jersey also hands Buffalo their 12th consecutive road defeat.

Here are 10 takeaways from the game:

1. Will Butcher returned to the Devils lineup after a two-game absence after catching a flu bug that put him on the sidelines. It was one defenseman back from the flu, with another one sitting out. Butcher was back in, while Sami Vatanen missed the game against the Sabres due to illness. The Devils defensive pairings looked as follows: 

2. In his return, Butcher ended the night with an assist and played 18:17 including 1:58 quarterbacking the power play.

3. Blake Coleman was a question mark heading into the game against Buffalo. He wasn't at the team's morning skate at Prudential Center, with coach John Hynes considering him a game-time decision. Coleman was on the ice for warmups and looked no worse for wear. He scored the game's opening goal at 1:55 of the first period while the Devils were on a power play. Coleman scooped up a loose puck in the corner and charged in front of Buffalo netminder Linus Ullmark, where he jammed the puck past the goal line for a 1-0 Devils lead.

Tweet from @NJDevils: Coleman makin' it look easy. #BUFvsNJD

The goal was Coleman's 22nd of the season and third on the power play. Nico Hischier assisted the play for his 28th assist this year and 45th point.

4. The Plano, Texas native, despite missing morning skate and being a game-time decision ended the night with 16:56 of ice time, three shots on goal, one blocked shot and 3:01 of ice time while shorthanded

5. After scoring the shootout winner against the Coyotes in the Devils previous game, Zacha potted another goal, this time at 4:30 of the third period. Zacha finished off a nice passing sequence between Butcher and Kenny Agostino on the power play with a wrist shot from the left circle, a shot that was completely screened by Miles Wood. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: While we wait for the goal decision, let's check out that Zacha goal 👀 #BUFvsNJD

The goal was Zacha's 12th of the season and fourth on the power play. Butcher and Kenny Agostino were credited with the assists.

6. The Sabres thought they had tied the game for a second time with 14:09 left in the third period when forward Sam Reinhart had a near empty net to shoot in from the left post. While the puck did clearly enter the net, the Devils challenged for goaltender interference. After a review by the referees, the goal was overturned, New Jersey catching a break and kept their 2-1 lead.

7. Coleman's first period power play goal ended a streak of 0-for-13 with the man-advantage, which dates back to the Devils game in Edmonton on March 13. That night, the Devils power play went 2-for-4. New Jersey's power play was 2-for-3 against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

8. The Devils penalty kill continues to be a strong-suit in their game. The last time the Devils gave up a power play goal was March 15th at Vancouver when the penalty-kill went 4-for-5. New Jersey has gone 10-for-10 while short-handed in the past four games. With a perfect penalty kill against the Sabres, the Devils extend their streak to 13-for-13 over the past five games.

9. It is no surprise that much of that penalty kill success is of credit to Andy Greene who regularly plays nearly the full two minutes on the PK. On Monday night, Greene played 2:56 shorthanded against the Sabres. Greene blocked two shots against the Buffalo Sabres to reach the significant number of 200 blocked shots this season. The Devils captain, with his 200th block, has set a new single-season franchise record, surpassing the 199 set by Colin White in the 2005-06 NHL season. The National Hockey League has tracked the blocked shot stat since 1997. Greene becomes the 36th player in NHL history to record 200+ blocked shots in a season.

10. Besides a miscue midway through the first period, where a shot from center ice came bouncing past Cory Schneider, the Devils netminder had a strong outing versus Buffalo, a team he entered the game with a 9-3-3 record against.

Schneider made 45 saves on 46 shots against Buffalo, including all 14 shots he faced in the second period when the Sabres spent much of the period in Schneider's zone and another 22 in the third. The Devils had 21 shots on goal. Schneider was named the first star of the game. 

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