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Devils host Sabres, who chase consecutive wins

by Dan Rosen /
SABRES (17-15-3) at DEVILS (19-15-1)


Last 10:
Buffalo 4-4-2; New Jersey 7-3-0

Season series:
This is the second of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Devils beat the Sabres, 5-3, at First Niagara Center on Nov. 16.

Big Story:
The Sabres snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Washington on Monday. The Devils lost in regulation for the second time in three games, dropping a 4-2 decision at Carolina. The Sabres got healthy with the return of Brad Boyes and Jochen Hecht on Tuesday. The Devils could get two of their top-four blueliners back Wednesday with Adam Larsson returning from Sweden and Henrik Tallinder trying to work his way through back spasms.

Team Scope:

The Sabres haven't won back-to-back games since their five-game winning streak from Nov. 4-12. They put themselves in a position to get their first winning streak in a month and a half by scoring four goals in the first period against Washington and hanging on for the win behind Ryan Miller, who made 20 saves in his sixth straight start.

Buffalo's power play struck for two goals, including the 12th of the season for captain Jason Pominville and the first of rookie Brayden McNabb's career. The power play has seven goals in the last five games.

"Quick puck movement is one thing," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Every power play every season you get hot stretches and you get it when it's running a little cold. Usually when it's running cold, it's puck movement."

Larsson missed two games while attending his grandmother's funeral in Sweden, but he returned Monday and was back at practice Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday's game. Larsson, who has 13 points and is second among rookies in ice time per game at 21:55, said his return trip home took 12 hours as he had to make two connections to get from Skeffeltea to Newark.

"He looks good," coach Pete DeBoer said in The (Bergen) Record. "He looks refreshed. I think he appreciated the trip home and we're glad to have him back."

Tallinder also had a promising practice Tuesday, leading DeBoer to say he is a possibility for the game against the Sabres depending on how he looks in the morning skate Wednesday.

Martin Brodeur is expected to start in net.

Who's Hot:
Pominville has 3 points in his last two games and 11 points in his last eight games. The only time this season he went two straight games without a point was Nov. 4-5. Thomas Vanek has 8 points in his current five-game point-scoring streak. … Devils rookie center Adam Henrique has goals in back-to-back games and points in four of his last five.

Injury Report: Tyler Myers (wrist), Nathan Gerbe (concussion), Ville Leino (lower body), Tyler Ennis (lower body) and Colin Stuart (lower body) are all still listed on the Sabres injury report. … Tallinder (back spasms) is questionable for the Devils.

Stat Pack:
Pominville is 4 points shy of 400 for his career. He's six games shy of his 500th career game. … Buffalo has scored 7 power-play goals in its last five games. The Sabres had a total of 7 in their previous 15 games. … The Devils have played 35 games, but only 15 at home. Ten of their next 15 games are at home.

Puck Drop:
"First and foremost we have to get a little bit healthy, and I think (Monday's game) helped us in the health category," Ruff said, referencing the return of both Boyes and Hecht. "Now it's time to try to put a little run together."

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