BUFFALO, New York (AP) — Martin Brodeur stopped 35 shots —
including 21 in the third period alone — to turn back the
Buffalo Sabres’ furious rally and secure the New Jersey Devils’
3-2 victory Saturday night.
Jamie Langenbrunner had a goal and assist, putting the Devils on
the verge of clinching their fifth Atlantic Division title this
decade. New Jersey enters the final week of the season a point
or a Philadelphia loss away from winning the division.
Zach Parise and David Clarkson also scored in helping the Devils
snap a six-game road skid (0-5-1).
New Jersey (49-26-4) also matched a franchise record for
victories set in 2006-07.
Jochen Hecht and Clarke MacArthur scored for the Sabres, who had
a 4-0-1 skid snapped and squandered a great opportunity to put
themselves firmly in the hunt for the Eastern Conference’s
eighth and final playoff berth. With four games left, Buffalo
remains in 10th place, four points behind the eight-place New
York Rangers, who lost to Boston earlier in the day.
Brodeur was solid in stopping the first 21 shots he faced, in
helping the Devils build a 3-0 lead through two periods. And
then he shut the door as the Sabres peppered him with 23 shots
in the final 20 minutes.
He made a great glove save on Thomas Vanek at the right post
late in the first period. Then there was his sprawling save on
Adam Mair’s deflection of Paul Gaustad’s shot from the right
boards early in the third.
The Devils, coming off a 5-4 overtime win against Tampa Bay on
Friday night, got off to a quick start by scoring twice on their
first four shots on net.
Clarkson opened the scoring 2:28 in when his shot from the top
of the right circle floated through a crowd to beat Ryan Miller.
Parise made it 2-0 with a power-play goal by tipping in Paul
Martin’s shot from the blue line.
Langenbrunner then sealed it with a workmanlike goal 7 minutes
into the second period. He set up the goal by first checking
Andrej Sekera off the puck to the left of the Sabres net. After
attempting to set up Bobby Holik in front, Langenbrunner got to
the loose puck and slipped it in through Miller’s legs.
Miller was pulled after two periods, in which he allowed three
goals on 22 shots. It’s expected that coach Lindy Ruff was
attempting to provide his team a spark and also give Miller a
rest with the Sabres preparing to close their season by playing
four games in six days.