On Military Appreciation night, Kyle Palmieri scored to the game-winning goal as the Devils defeated the Sabres for the second time in as many nights.
One night following Andy Greene’s penalty shot goal to seal the game in Buffalo, New Jersey hosted the Sabres in Newark, where the team was without center, Ryan O’Reilly, who was scratched with a mid-body injury suffered on Friday.
The Devils opened the scoring at 4:01 of the first period after early pressure in the offensive zone led to a point shot for Kyle Quincey, who tallied his first goal as a Devil. Damon Severson and Adam Henrique picked up assists on the opening goal, part of a two-point night for both of them.
After trailing through the first period, Buffalo responded early into the second period, forcing a turnover that led to a Marcus Foligno tally to even the score.
Nick Lappin would answer the Sabres’ just over two minutes later to return the lead in favor of New Jersey. The goal for Lappin is his second in his first eight NHL games since being called up from Albany, as well as his second-straight at the Prudential Center.
Before the end of the second period the Devils would add to their lead as a Kyle Palmieri goal at 11:17 made it 3-1 and ended a nine-game scoring drought for last season’s 30-goal scorer.
In the third, John Moore’s shot off a two-on-one with Adam Henrique trickled past Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner at 6:32 to make it a 4-1 game. Buffalo would respond with a Matt Moulson goal to cut the lead in half but could not force a comeback.
Cory Schneider stopped 21 of 23 shots, earning his sixth win of the season. Henrique’s two assists helped end a five-game streak without a point. Taylor Hall added two assists as well including a great feed on a two-on-one to Lappin in the second period.
“He’s one of the most skilled players in the league,” Lappin said. “When I see him get the puck there, I got a pretty good feeling that that puck is going to end up on my stick if he’s passing it.”
Since arriving to New Jersey, Lappin has done a good job on the fourth line with Vernon Fiddler and Sergey Kalinin, but found himself caught on a shift resulting in the goal and feed from his teammate from the first line. The rookie though says he’s getting comfortable each day.
I just feel like I’m getting a little more comfortable every day here,” he said. “Trying to do what I think I can do best to help the team win.”
One source of offense as of late has come from the back end. After Yohann Auvitu scored his first NHL goal on Friday and Greene netted the game-winner on a penalty shot, the Devils again found production there. Five of New Jersey’s six defenseman recorded a point on Saturday including two goal-scorers and six combined points in the game.
“They were certainly involved in a lot of our offensive chances,” coach John Hynes said following Saturday’s win. “Really collective as a group–six-for-six.”
Quincey, netting his first as a Devil started the offensive outing for the blueliners.
“I don’t think we did anything special tonight,” Quincey said. “We just got our shots through, jumped in the play when we had a chance and the pucks went in for us. Nothing extra special we did tonight that we haven’t been doing.”
Ahead of their four-game road-trip, which begins Tuesday night in Dallas, the Devils have won four-straight including consecutive home-and-home’s.
“This was a good stretch for us this week,” Hynes said. “The players made good decisions this week more often than not. They made the right decisions, good plays, played with passion, they had a lot of purpose in how we played and when you look at how the games went there was a lot of mental toughness.”
New Jersey now prepares for its longest road trip so far this season. They’ll play the Stars on Tuesday, followed by three-straight against California’s Ducks, Kings and Sharks before returning home to take on the Maple Leafs.