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Devils’ Skid Continues In 4-3 Shootout Loss To Sabres

Johan Hedberg (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Johan Hedberg (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jason Pominville scored twice in regulation and added a shootout goal, and the Buffalo Sabres extended their winning streak to three games by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Saturday.

Tyler Ennis also scored in the shootout while Ryan Miller stopped both shootout attempts after making 28 saves in regulation.

Cody Hodgson had two assists and Jochen Hecht also scored for Buffalo, which improved to 3-2-0 since Ron Rolston took over as interim coach after Lindy Ruff was fired.

The three-game win streak is Buffalo’s longest since the team won five straight from March 19-27 last season.

Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier and Andrei Loktionov scored for the Devils. New Jersey is 1-4-2 in its past seven.

Pominville opened the shootout by beating Johan Hedberg with a snap shot on the glove side. After Ilya Kovlachuk failed to score on the Devils’ first attempt, Ennis scored.

Miller then clinched the victory by gloving Henrique’s backhand.

Henrique put the Devils up 2-1 with a short-handed goal 1:21 into the period. The Sabres countered 1:49 later when Pominville was set up to the right of the net by Hodgson’s cross-ice pass.

Hecht then put the Sabres up 3-2 at the 9:47 mark, when he scored from a bad angle by banking in a shot off Hedberg. It was Hecht’s first goal of the season and snapped a 32-game drought dating to a 3-1 loss at Washington on Dec. 30, 2011.

That lead didn’t last long, either, after Loktionov tied it 1:35 later. Set up alone in front by Stefan Matteau’s no-look pass, Loktionov drove across the crease and wrapped the puck in around a sprawling Miller.

The Sabres experienced familiar troubles in failing to generate offense over a long stretch. After rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko was stopped by Hedberg at the right post 11 minutes into the game, the Sabres went nearly 13 minutes before getting their next shot on goal.

Despite the lack of chances, the Sabres opened the scoring 7:17 into the second period with a short-handed goal. Hodgson outmuscled Marek Zidlicky and Kovalchuk for the puck at the end boards of the Devils zone and then set up Pominville for a one-timer in front.

For Pominville, it was only his second goal and point in 12 games.

The Devils got that one back 2:07 later when Mark Fayne’s shot from the right point sailed wide but deflected in off of Bernier, who was battling Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers for position to the left of the net.

The power plays for both teams continued to struggle.

The Sabres went 0 for 6, including failing to convert on two power-play chances in overtime. Buffalo has scored two power-play goals on its past 36 opportunities over an 11-game span.

The Devils failed to score on five chances, and have scored once on their past 22 power-play opportunities.

The Sabres were without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who has been bothered by a nagging upper-body injury. Rolston hoped Vanek will return Sunday, when the Sabres travel to play the New York Rangers.

NOTES: Devils LW Ryan Carter returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury. — Sabres C Brian Flynn made his NHL debut a day after being called up from AHL Rochester. To make room for Flynn, Buffalo placed D Jordan Leopold on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 21. — Kovalchuk, who had an assist, played in his 800th career game. — With the game tied at 1 after 40 minutes, the Sabres have opened the third period with a lead just twice this season. — This marked only the second time this season two short-handed goals were scored in the same game, according to STATS LLC. Toronto and Winnipeg scored one each in the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 win on Feb. 7. There were only 10 games last season with two or more short-handed goals.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)