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game recap

Pavel Zacha powers Devils past Sabres

Rookie breaks tie with man-advantage goal in third period

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Pavel Zacha scored his first NHL game-winning goal to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center on Monday.

The 19-year-old rookie broke a 1-1 tie in the third period when he scored off the rebound of a Michael Cammalleri shot at 12:33 with Sabres forward Evander Kane in the penalty box for high sticking.

Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma challenged the goal, claiming New Jersey forward Adam Henrique interfered with goalie Robin Lehner, but it was upheld, and the Devils ended a seven-game losing streak at home.


WATCH: All Sabres vs. Devils highlights


"I saw the rebound and was lucky enough it went right on my stick, so I just tried to shoot it right away," Zacha said. "The goalie didn't know where the puck was; I tried to surprise him."

Henrique scored in the first period for the Devils (23-21-10). Schneider is 3-0-1 in his past four starts.

"It's that time of the year where everyone ramps their game up, and we have to find a way to do that consistently," Henrique said. "We had a big 5-1 win [at the Columbus Blue Jackets] on Saturday, and we had to find a way to carry that over at home and against the Sabres."

The Devils won consecutive games for the first time since they won three straight Jan. 13-17.

Video: BUF@NJD: Henrique banks home PPG on his birthday

"It was important to win at home, but more important was the way we played," Schneider said. "You can't always guarantee a win no matter how well you play, but I thought we did a lot of things well and deserved to win."

Lehner made 37 saves for the Sabres (21-21-10), who are 1-3-1 in their past five games.

Henrique, who turned 27 on Monday, scored a power-play goal in the second period to give the Devils a 1-0 lead at 8:46.

The Devils went 2-of-4 on the power play and have scored at least one power-play goal in four of the past five games.

"We're jumping on second and third opportunities with the man-advantage," Henrique said. "That's been the difference-maker lately: getting pucks and bodies to the net."

Tyler Ennis tied it 1-1 when he scored 8:39 into the third off a spin move along the goal line, beating Schneider just inside the right post.


Goal of the game

Lehner got his glove on Cammalleri's high wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle, and Zacha quickly shot the rebound from just below the left hash marks for his sixth goal of the season, fourth on the power play. "[Henrique] touched my glove a little bit, but I don't think it was that significant," Lehner said. "It's hard to argue if he doesn't have his stick there if I get it clean or not. Maybe. Maybe not."

Video: BUF@NJD: Zacha snipes rebound top shelf for PPG


Save of the game

Schneider made a chest save against Sabres center Jack Eichel on a one-timer from the top of the left circle 5:35 into the first.

Video: BUF@NJD: Schneider denies Eichel's one-time blast


Highlight of the game

Ennis scored his third of the season when he beat Schneider with a low shot through the five-hole from a tough angle. "Once he curled up, I just kind of squared up ice a little bit looking for a late guy he might hit with a pass," Schneider said. "He whipped it on net, and I was caught in an awkward spot. It was completely my fault to not follow that through and stay with him. When you win, though, you tend to forget about those ones easily."

Video: BUF@NJD: Ennis ties game on tough-angle spin-o-rama


Unsung performance of the game

Devils defensemen had 15 blocked shots, led by Andy Greene and Steven Santini, who each had four.


They said it

"We need our best players to be our best players. I think a lot of us didn't like the first half to our season in terms of the guys who have been here and who were counted on. Some guys have really stepped up and we've gotten good depth performances too. [Pavel Zacha] has really stepped it up on that line with Jacob Josefson and Stefan Noesen. They have contributed, and it seems like everyone is settling into a role." -- Devils goaltender Cory Schneider


"We didn't have any chances, not with what I saw. Schneider had an easy game. Like I said, it is up to us in this room to get things going, and tonight we didn't get things going." -- Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner


Need to know

Eichel played 19:52, had three shots on goal and was 1-for-8 on faceoffs. ... The Devils will not play the next five days. ... Henrique has four goals and seven points during a five-game point streak. ... New Jersey center Travis Zajac was 11-for-14 (78 percent) on faceoffs, including 4-for-4 against Eichel.

What's next

Sabres: Host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

Devils: Host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, MSG+, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)


Video: Two power-play goals push Devils past Sabres, 2-1

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