BUFFALO, N.Y. – Matt D’Agostini’s first goal of the season kept the Buffalo Sabres on a roll at home.
D’Agostini’s rebound goal at 11:49 of the third period lifted the Sabres to their fifth straight home win, a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
“We’re never going for pretty,” D’Agostini said.
Linus Omark found Steve Ott to the right of Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. Ott’s shot rebounded into the crease and D’Agostini poked it into the net.
“We kinda talked about getting inside on them a little more,” D’Agostini said. “Myself, I’ve been skating good and getting shots but mostly from the outside. Getting inside and getting to the net is where you get most goals in this league.”
Matt Moulson also scored a power-play goal and Ryan Miller made 21 saves for the Sabres.
Michael Ryder scored his 13th goal of the season for New Jersey, which has lost back-to-back games in regulation.
Buffalo’s struggling power play broke out of its slump. They entered the game with just one goal in their past 22 power plays and had gone three games without converting with the man advantage.
“It was a good feeling to get a couple on the power play tonight and it was just a matter of taking the puck to the net,” defenceman Tyler Myers said. “Both goals we had a guy take the puck in and we had guys crashing and banging away. That’s what we have to do if we want to score.”
The Devils took two penalties in three minutes late in the second period. New Jersey forced a turnover and had two players alone on Miller during the first penalty, but Miller stopped Adam Henrique’s shot.
“I want to be there to make a difference,” Miller said. “If I had to come up with a few saves here and there, and that’s one of them, I was happy to make it.”
The save injected some energy into the home crowd, as well as the Sabres.
“The guys definitely feel the energy,” Miller said. “It’s important to hear that the crowd’s behind you and that’s definitely one of those instances.”
Buffalo scored on the next opportunity. With 31 seconds left in the second period, Moulson shot a rebound past Schneider for his 14th goal of the season.
“We need to keep doing that,” Moulson said. “Get pucks to the net, get guys driving to the net and get those dirty goals.”
It was Buffalo’s first regulation goal against New Jersey in more than 135 minutes of play going back to April 7, 2013.
The Sabres took a too many men penalty 6:03 into the third period and Myers was penalized two minutes for an illegal hit to the head of Dainius Zubrus less than a minute later.
“I wondered why that wasn’t a five-minute major but I didn’t get an explanation for that,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said.
New Jersey had a 5-on-3 advantage and tied the game at the 7:46 mark when Ryder shot a loose puck over Miller’s shoulder.
The Devils have scored a power-play goal in consecutive games after going without one for four games.
With 10:03 gone in the third, Zubrus shoved Myers into the Sabres goal post and was called for interference.
“You can’t retaliate,” DeBoer said. “He knows that. I think it’s too easy a target to pin the loss on him. I think the loss is pinned on the fact we couldn’t score 5-on-5.”
On the ensuing power play, D’Agostini backhanded a rebound past Schneider for his first goal in 26 games, dating back to April 18.
“Now I’m at one,” D’Agostini said. “As long as you’re getting the chances, sooner or later they’ll start falling for you. Hopefully I’m on the other side now.”
Ott and Omark assisted on the goal, Omark’s first point with the team since being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 19.
Buffalo scored multiple power-play goals for just the second time this season, dating back to Oct. 8 against Tampa Bay.
The Sabres got the game’s first power play when Steve Bernier interfered with Tyler Ennis in front of the Devils net. Myers had the best chance of the power play, but Schneider made the save with his blocker.
Eight minutes into the second period, Brian Flynn was one-on-one with Schneider off a pass from Omark, but the Devils goaltender kicked away his backhand shot.
Miller has won his past six home games, allowing just eight goals.
The teams combined for just 11 shots on goal in the first period, with seven going to the Devils.
NOTES: Devils LW Patrik Elias missed his second consecutive game with an upper body injury sustained Tuesday against Pittsburgh. … Buffalo C Zenon Konopka played his first game for the club since being claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Friday. … Devils assistant coach Mike Foligno is a former Sabre and father of Buffalo LW Marcus Foligno.