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Kovalchuk returns, Devils down Sabres

Nov 17, 2011 - 6:23 AM Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal in his return to help spark New Jersey in a 5-3 win over Buffalo at First Niagara Center.

Kovalchuk had missed the previous five games with a lower-body injury and joined Zach Parise, David Clarkson, Patrik Elias and Mark Fayne on the scoresheet as the Devils won for the fifth time in the past seven games.

Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots to pick up the win.

Tyler Myers scored twice and Jordan Leopold had the other goal for the Sabres, who had won five of six coming in.

Jhonas Enroth gave up five goals on 19 shots. He was pulled with a little over 10 minutes to play and Drew MacIntyre stopped the two shots he faced in relief.

"It was a bad game on my side and that's ashame cause the guys played really good tonight," said Enroth. "I let in some bad goals and let the guys down. Rough night."

The Devils scored just 2:08 into the game while shorthanded as Parise's turnaround shot from the slot fooled Enroth.

Just over three minutes later, New Jersey took a 2-0 lead on the power play when Kovalchuk made a nifty move at the left point and brought the puck to the circle before snapping a shot inside the right post.

"We wanted to come out fast against this team cause they have a lot of speed and can get things going," said Kovalchuk. "We got that first one then the power-play goal and that was big."

Buffalo got one back on the power play with 1:04 to play in the first as Jason Pominville grabbed a rebound at the left side and backhanded it over to the front of the net where Myers' backhander snuck in.

The Devils made it 3-1 8:56 into the second when a right-circle faceoff win by Adam Henrqiue saw the puck go to Fayne, who slid over a bit before ripping a shot into the net.

The score stayed that way until the third when Petr Sykora got the puck away from the left boards and flung it over to the slot where Elias' one-timer found the back of the net 3:09 in to give the Devils a 4-1 advantage.

Myers' snap shot from the right circle went over the glove of Brodeur to get Buffalo within two at the 7:35 mark, but Clarkson scored on a breakaway less than a minute later when he faked to the backhand and lifted it over Enroth.

A quick shot from Leopold at the left point made its way in to again make it a two-goal game, but it was with under five minutes to play and New Jersey kept Buffalo from getting any closer.

Game Notes

New Jersey plays in Tampa Bay on Saturday...Buffalo plays at Carolina on Friday...Buffalo took three of four from New Jersey last season...Each team went 1-for-4 on the power play...New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus played in his 1,000th NHL game.

    BUFFALO: 3

    Nov 16 10:02 PM

  • Buffalo Goal - Jordan Leopold (4), at 15:07.

    Devils 5, Sabres 3  3rd - 4:53Nov 16 9:52 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Ryan Carter (2), from Andy Greene at 8:23.

    Devils 5, Sabres 2  3rd - 11:37Nov 16 9:39 PM

  • Buffalo Goal - Tyler Myers (2), from Nathan Gerbe and Matt Ellis at 7:35.

    Devils 4, Sabres 2  3rd - 12:25Nov 16 9:38 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Patrik Elias (7), from Petr Sykora at 3:09.

    Devils 4, Sabres 1  3rd - 16:51Nov 16 9:29 PM

    BUFFALO: 1
    End of 2nd

    Nov 16 9:07 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Mark Fayne (3), from Adam Henrique at 8:36.

    Devils 3, Sabres 1  2nd - 11:24Nov 16 8:46 PM
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    Devils 2, Sabres 1  2nd - 13:45Nov 16 8:41 PM

    BUFFALO: 1
    1st Period - 1:04

    Devils 2, Sabres 1  1st - 1:04Nov 16 8:13 PM

  • New Jersey Power-Play Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (3), from Patrik Elias and Martin Brodeur at 5:21.

    Devils 2, Sabres 0  1st - 14:39Nov 16 7:48 PM

  • New Jersey Short-Handed Goal - Zach Parise (6), at 2:06.

    Devils 1, Sabres 0  1st - 17:54Nov 16 7:43 PM

    BUFFALO: 0
    1st Period - 20:00

    Nov 16 7:40 PM
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    Devils vs. SabresNov 4 6:01 AM
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    Devils vs. SabresOct 5 11:00 AM
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    Devils vs. SabresJun 24 6:02 AM