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Kovalchuk, Brodeur lead Devils over Sabres

Feb 15, 2012 - 6:34 AM Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk posted his 12th career hat trick with an assist and Martin Brodeur made 29 saves as New Jersey topped Buffalo, 4-1, on Tuesday.

Petr Sykora scored the other goal while Adam Henrique added two assists for the Devils, who stopped a two-game slide.

Jason Pominville scored the only goal for the Sabres, who have lost their past two games. Ryan Miller was tagged for three goals on 30 shots in the loss.

"We had to defend a lot out there tonight," said Miller. "We had to kill a bunch of penalties and we did a good job of that. I thought we played a good game out there, just came up short."

Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff was back behind the bench after missing the past three games. He had watched those games from the press box after suffering three broken ribs during a practice last Monday. The team went 2-1-0 under assistant coach James Patrick during that time.

Skating on the power play, New Jersey took a 1-0 lead with 36 seconds to play in the first as Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias played catch with the puck before Elias passed it to the low left side where Kovalchuk had an empty net to shoot it into.

The only goal of the second period came from Pominville as he threw a backhand pass from behind the New Jersey net that saw the puck go off of a Devil stick and sneak past Brodeur with 2:41 left in the frame.

Sykora, though, gave the Devils the lead just 1:44 into the third on the power play when he snapped a wrister from the right circle that beat Miller.

"I really have high hopes for this team," Sykora said. "If we can keep it together amd play the same way, I think we can play some good hockey late in the spring."

Kovalchuk made it a 3-1 game halfway through the third when a rush the other way saw Henrique feed it from the right wing to the front where Kovalchuk got a stick on it for the redirect into the net.

Kovalchuk capped his first hat trick in three years with the net empty for his 25th of the season.

Game Notes

Kovalchuk's last hat trick came on February 15, 2009 against Anaheim when he was playing for Atlanta...New Jersey hosts Anaheim on Friday...Buffalo plays in Philadelphia on Thursday...The Devils took three of the four games against the Sabres this season...The Devils went 2-for-7 on the power play while Buffalo was 0-for-2.

    BUFFALO: 1

    Feb 14 9:28 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (25), from Zach Parise at 19:51.

    Devils 4, Sabres 1  3rd - 0:09Feb 14 9:26 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (24), from Adam Henrique at 9:47.

    Devils 3, Sabres 1  3rd - 10:13Feb 14 9:06 PM

  • New Jersey Power-Play Goal - Petr Sykora (13), at 1:44.

    Devils 2, Sabres 1  3rd - 18:16Feb 14 8:53 PM
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    Devils 2, Sabres 1  3rd - 18:16Feb 14 8:53 PM

    BUFFALO: 1
    End of 2nd

    Feb 14 8:36 PM
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    Devils 1, Sabres 1  End of 2ndFeb 14 8:36 PM

  • Buffalo Goal - Thomas Vanek (21), at 17:19.

    Devils 1, Sabres 1  2nd - 2:41Feb 14 8:25 PM

    BUFFALO: 0
    End of 1st

    Feb 14 7:41 PM

  • New Jersey Power-Play Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (23), from Patrik Elias at 19:24.

    Devils 1, Sabres 0  1st - 0:36Feb 14 7:39 PM

    BUFFALO: 0
    1st Period - 20:00

    Feb 14 7:08 PM
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    Devils vs. SabresNov 4 6:01 AM
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    Devils vs. SabresOct 5 11:01 AM
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    Devils vs. SabresJun 24 6:02 AM