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Hall, Kinkaid lift Devils over Sabres in return to the lineup

10 Takeaways: Devils defeat Sabres 3-1 in Buffalo

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein / newjerseydevils.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Devils worked their way back into the win column in their first game back from the All-Star break. Several players returned to the lineup after missing time with injury, and Kyle Palmieri notched the empty net goal for the Devils' 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The victory put an end to the team's four-game winless streak. 

Here are 10 takeaways from the game: 

1. Taylor Hall and Keith Kinkaid returned to the lineup after both missing three games with injury, while defenseman Mirco Mueller was back after a 31-game absence with a broken clavicle. 

2. In Mueller's return to play, he logged 13:55 with one shot on goal.

3. Coach John Hynes elected to go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards in his lineup, which was:

Hall-Hischier-Bratt 
Wood-Zacha-Palmieri 
Coleman-Zajac-Noesen 
Boyle-Stafford 

Greene-Vatanen 
Moore-Severson 
Butcher-Lovejoy 
Mueller 

Kinkaid 
Appleby

4. Kinkaid started in net, his 13th start of the season. Against Buffalo, Kinkaid turned away 27 of the 28 shots he faced. Kinkaid is now 3-0-0 in his career against the Sabres. 

5. The Devils and Sabres were tied 0-0 after the first period. The Devils were outshot 11-9 and took two penalties. Both penalties, to Pavel Zacha and Hall, were successfully killed off. 

The Devils' skaters blocked six shots, and Hall and Stefan Noesen led in shots on goal for New Jersey with two apiece. 

6. Speed is a big part of the Devils' identity this season, and Miles Wood used it to his advantage in the second period. Wood got the Devils on the board at 5:49 when he turned on the jets to skate across the Sabres' crease and tucked a backhand in for a goal. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: If scoring goals is cool, consider him Miles Wood. #NJDvsBUF pic.twitter.com/ZcdIBIQdDM

The goal was Wood's 14th of the season, and his 22nd point. He is currently second on the Devils' roster in goals, behind only Hall's 18. Will Butcher and Palmieri earned the assists. Butcher's assist was his 27th of his rookie campaign. 

The goal also ended Buffalo netminder Robin Lehner's shutout streak at a career-best 145:15.

7. The Devils took the lead on multiple fronts during the second period. They led the Sabres by a 1-0 score and also led in shots on goal with 10 to Buffalo's seven, for a 19-18 overall lead. 

8. Hall made an impression in his return to the lineup, extending his point streak to eight games (6g-7a). Hall gave the Devils a 2-0 lead at 5:31 of the third period, as his shot trickled in off Lehner's glove. The goal was his 18th of the year, as he continues to lead the Devils in goals. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Picking up right where he left off. Welcome back, @Hallsy09! #NJDvsBUF pic.twitter.com/E5UHjbKgma

Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier had the assists on the goal. Bratt is no stranger to earning points against Buffalo, as he now has two goals and two assists in three games against the Sabres. 

9. Tuesday night marked the final game of January 2018 for the Devils. It was a month the club will learn a lot of lessons from, going just 3-6-2 for eight points, the team's lowest monthly point total of the 2017-18 season so far. 

10. The Devils return home for a Thursday night matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers. The game also marks the club's second annual Pride Night.

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