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Sabres keep Devils winless at home with SO win

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Buffalo Sabres are the latest visiting team to come to the Prudential Center and leave with two points.

Derek Roy scored the decisive goal in a shootout as the Sabres rallied for a 5-4 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

The Devils, last in the Eastern Conference with 10 points, fell to 0-5-2 at home this season. They did manage a point at Prudential Center for the first time since opening night, but the resilient Sabres overcame three one-goal deficits before sealing the deal in the four-round shootout.

"It was a great team effort," said Jhonas Enroth, a rookie who finished with 28 saves to lead Buffalo to its second straight shootout victory -- the Sabres won 3-2 at Toronto on Saturday. "I like shootouts, I'm pretty good at it. I wasn't nervous and just tried to enjoy the moment. I know this is my chance to prove that I can help this team. I just wanted to take care of the moment and stay sharp."

Enroth did just that, turning away Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias in the shootout before Devils captain Jaime Langenbrunner rammed his attempt into the right corner to pull the Devils even.

Roy then began the fourth round by lifting a backhander over Johan Hedberg (38 saves), who started his second straight game with Martin Brodeur sidelined with a bruised elbow. Ilya Kovalchuk had a chance to tie the game but had the puck roll off his stick and slither toward the side boards as he skated in on Enroth.

The fans in attendance began to boo Kovalchuk while the Buffalo players mobbed Enroth to congratulate him..

"The puck rolled off my stick. That's it," a disappointed Kovalchuk said.

Roy was pleased with the play of the first-year goalie, who has stepped in while Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller recovers from a lower-body injury.

"Whenever injuries happen, especially an injury to a Vezina Trophy winner, you need guys to step up and Jhonas came up big," Roy said.

"It's nice to get a win like this, we worked hard in practice and the guys responded and Jhonas made some great saves. On my goal in the shootout, I wanted to shoot low blocker and (Hedberg) took that away, so I pulled it backhand and knew I had to get it over his glove, and I did."

Buffalo improved to 5-9-2 -- with all five wins away from HSBC Arena, where the Sabres are 0-6-1.

The victory came in coach Lindy Ruff's 1,000th game behind the bench for the Sabres. He's one of only three coaches in League history to work the bench for 1,000 games for the same organization.

"It's always good to win milestone games for a coach or a player," Enroth said.

Said Ruff: "I wish we would have won the thing in regulation instead of going to the shootout."

The Devils led 4-3 after two periods, but the Sabres pulled even at 8:54 of the third when Tyler Ennis poked home a pass by Roy that slipped past Hedberg and into the crease. It marked the third time in the game the Sabres battled back to square the contest.

Both teams had chances to win in regulation. Hedberg robbed Tim Connolly on a wide-open wrister from the slot with 2:10 remaining; Rod Pelley then sent Kovalchuk in on a breakaway, but he fired high and wide.

"I tried something. It didn't work out real well, so I will practice more on my shot," Kovalchuk said.

After Jason Arnott scored midway through the first period to put the Devils in front, the teams combined for 30 shots and six goals in a wild second period.

Jason Pominville tied the game at 5:22 by beating Hedberg from the slot, and Roy put them ahead 13 seconds later when he stepped into a 50-foot slapper and beat Hedberg's wave with his catching glove.

Devils coach John MacLean then called his timeout to settle his team down -- and it worked, as David Clarkson tied the game at 2-2 when he tipped in a perfectly placed pass by Alexander Vasyunov at 7:58.

"It is a tough one to lose … we wanted it for (Hedberg), wanted it for the team and our fans," Clarkson said. "We want to let teams know that when they come into this building, we're going to play well. We did good things tonight, and I know we've been saying that for while now, but we just have to do little things better."

MacLean admitted his lashing out at the players during his timeout was the most emotion he's exhibited on the bench in a game this season.

"Probably that you've seen, publicly," he said. "I don't regret showing (my emotion). (Afterwards) they got going again. You can do it once in a while and we got a goal quickly after that so it's a reminder sometimes. There were a few expletives.

"I went through this as a player a few times myself and it's not easy, but you stay with the program and work. We have to get out of this ourselves and we will."

Arnott put the Devils ahead again at 12:01 with his second of the game just 17 seconds after Ennis was penalized for hooking Langenbrunner. But Buffalo got even at 13:50 when defenseman Tyler Myers ripped a snap shot from the right circle that beat Hedberg to the long side.

Langenbrunner, who briefly left the game earlier in the period after going head-first into the side boards following the hook by Ennis, gave New Jersey a 4-3 lead when his shot from the left side deflected off Buffalo defenseman Chris Butler in the slot and went past Enroth at 18:01.

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