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Schneider (25 saves), Devils shut out Sabres

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The New Jersey Devils showed again Tuesday they're a resilient team.

Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty scored, and Cory Schneider made 25 saves to give the Devils a 2-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.

Schneider got his second shutout of the season and 19th in the NHL. The Devils (16-11-4) won their second game in the past three.

"Great response from everybody; I thought our attacking the puck was better, our neutral zone and everything was better," Schneider said. "It's important to get points. We keep talking about it. I know it gets old. We get injuries, it's fatigue. We have seven games in 12 days going into the break. Keep ourselves in it and keep clawing away and maybe get to the Christmas break and kind of reset a little bit."

The Devils lost 4-0 to the New York Islanders on Sunday. In that game, Schneider was pulled at 27:58 after allowing three goals on 18 shots.

"It was nice to see Cory bounce back," Devils coach John Hynes said. "It was a great team bounce-back. Against the Islanders, we didn't give him enough support. That wasn't why he was pulled, but I think tonight when Buffalo came and made a real hard press early in the game and late in the game, he was terrific for us. Once again, he was a big reason why we were able to win the game."

The Devils have alternated wins and losses in nine straight games, but the loss to the Islanders was their worst since a 5-1 loss at the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 20.

"We didn't like our performance on Sunday and we wanted to show everyone we don't take everything for granted," Tlusty said. "Everyone was thinking we were going to quit and we never did. This outing was a great team effort. Cory gave us a chance to win the game in the first (period) because he stopped a couple big chances in the first and that was the key."

Forward Adam Henrique returned to the Devils lineup after he missed two games with a lower-body injury. He was reunited with Stempniak and Mike Cammalleri on the Devils' first line.

"It's big for us," Stempniak said. "No matter where Adam is going to play, he's a huge part of our team. He's been great in every situation he's played in this season, in the faceoff circle especially. It's something we've noticed missing Adam and Travis [Zajac]. It's good to have him back winning some big faceoffs for us there. It's great to have him back, he's a huge part of our team."

Stempniak scored with 2:23 left in the second period. Cammalleri received a cross-zone pass from Henrique and took a slap shot that was saved by Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark, but Stempniak followed and put the rebound in for his eighth goal of the season. The assist was Cammalleri's first point in three games.

"It was nice when they came back together; I thought you could see the instant chemistry they had and probably the excitement level of being able to play back together again," Hynes said. "It was a real nice play, and we need those guys to be able to produce for us and it was a good thing they did tonight."

Tlusty's first goal since Oct. 9 gave the Devils a 2-0 lead 4:12 into the third period. He one-timed a tipped pass from Kyle Palmieri past Ullmark for his second goal of the season.

"I think just the goalie didn't expect me to shoot it right away so we kind of surprised him and it went in," Tlusty said. "The goalie can read the stick and where you're going to shoot and I took advantage and it went in. It was a lucky bounce [into the slot] but a good shot."

Tlusty went 17 games between goals.

"I'm not going to blame anything, it is what it is," Tlusty said. "Lately I've been getting some chances and the puck wasn't going in. You just need to find one and your head can calm down a little bit and you won't rush things. It's always good to score goals and it gives you a bit of confidence and you have to just build on it."

The Sabres (13-16-3) had won two in a row. Ullmark made 19 saves.

"I thought we had a few opportunities," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "We missed the net with most of them, couldn't capitalize, couldn't put them in trouble. I think in the second period they kind of took the game to us in terms of where it was played and how it was played. We got caught in some long situations playing D-zone. Eventually they capitalized on the situation."

Sabres forward Cal O'Reilly made his season debut after he was recalled on Dec. 5. It was his first NHL game since Feb. 15, 2012, when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Cal joined brother Ryan O'Reilly as teammates for the first time in the NHL. They're the second set of brothers to play for the Sabres (Bob Sauve and J.F. Sauve, 1980-83).

O'Reilly played in place of forward Marcus Foligno, who missed the game with an upper-body injury. Bylsma said he is day-to-day.

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