Pavel Zacha's surge continues, helps Devils outlast Sabres in OT to end three-game skid

Robert Aitken Jr., The Record on

Published in Hockey

In the final game before a long homestand that will include fans in attendance, the Devils were in desperate need of ending a three-game losing streak without earning a single point. It felt like a must win in some respects and was treated as much by the Devils, grinding out a 4-3 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

The Devils fell behind with a first-period goal by Riley Sheahan that put the Sabres up 1-0. In the second period, Jesper Bratt's first goal of the season tied the game at one until the Sabres broke through with a power-play goal off the stick of Casey Mittelstadt that wiggled past MacKenzie Blackwood.

In the third period, the Devils took the lead for the first time on the night due in large part to an extended power play. A Miles Wood power-play goal knotted the game at two, followed shortly by Nico Hischier's first goal of the season to put the Devils ahead. However, Sam Reinhart's power-play goal with 4:30 left in regulation tied things at three and gave each team a point heading into overtime.

Pavel Zacha remained red hot with a game-winning goal 1:17 into overtime that gave him three points on the night and a very important second point for the Devils in the standings.

The Devils will head home for a five-game homestand beginning Saturday, the longest stay in Prudential Center for the Devils to this point in the schedule.



The Devils were in dire need of a goal to tie things in the second period. Bratt was there to provide that spark. Bratt made a fancy move for his first goal of the season, finding a way around Buffalo defender Matt Irwin and putting a shot past Carter Hutton in net.

The assist came from Zacha, who has extended his points streak to a career-best eight straight games. Zacha has been held without a point just once since Jan. 24, a span of 11 games.


A key sequence for the Devils came early in the third period, when former Devil Taylor Hall was sent to the penalty box for a high stick to Wood that led to Wood bleeding. The penalty was a double minor, giving the Devils four minutes to tie the game. The Devils did exactly that and it was Wood himself to put it in the back of the net.

Because the goal took place in the first half of the double minor power play, the Devils remained on the power play after tying the game at two. As the man advantage disappeared, the Devils kept the puck in the Buffalo zone and the continued pressure led to a goal by Hischier, his first of the season and his first as the Devils captain.

©2021 Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.