Devils
Sabres
3 - 2 Final
  for this game

Rafalski's shorthanded goal lifts Devils over Sabres

Mar 11, 2007 - 6:21 AM
BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Thanks to defenseman Brian Rafalski, the New Jersey Devils moved closer to the Buffalo Sabres.

Rafalski scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period, snapping a tie and leading the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Sabres in a battle of the Eastern Conference's top two clubs.

With the triumph, New Jersey (42-19-8) climbed within one point of Buffalo (44-19-5) for first place in the East. The Sabres, however, have one game in hand.

"I don't really care if we finish first or fourth," New Jersey captain Patrik Elias said. "Obviously, we want to have home-ice advantage. More important is that we're satisfied with the way we played."

"It's fun to be close to the top," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "You play to be the best, and we beat the best in the East tonight."

Buffalo has scored a league-leading 256 goals, but just eight in its last four games after netting 31 in its previous five contests.

"Teams are going to play like that against us," Buffalo defenseman Nathan Paetsch said. "Obviously, they are going to want to control our offense. We've scored the most goals in the league, so teams are trying to find ways to beat us. We've just got to find a way to work through that defensive shell that teams are going to put up against us."

Rafalski netted his first career shorthander when he took a pass from Jim Dowd on a 3-on-1 rush and beat goaltender Ryan Miller from the slot with 28 seconds remaining in the middle session.

"Jimmy made a good block and was able to control the puck," Rafalski said. "I didn't say anything to Jimmy down the ice. Jamie (Langenbrunner) drove the net well, and I was able to take a good look and make a good shot."

"I'm disappointed, obviously," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "To get a shorthanded goal that lets the other team win is a tough way to lose the game."

The Sabres have allowed a shorthander in three straight games and surrendered 13 this season, the second-highest total in the NHL.

"I don't know," Miller said of the shorthanded goals. "I'm not going to start to analyze what we're doing out there."

Rookie Travis Zajac and Michael Rupp also scored and Brodeur made 31 saves for the Devils, who have earned at least one point in five of their last six games (3-1-2).

Zajac tied the contest at 1-1 at 5:40 of the first period, when he deflected Langenbrunner's shot out of mid-air in the slot past Miller.

Rupp, who entered with just one tally in his previous 26 contests, gave the Devils the lead 33 seconds into the second period, burying a rebound from just outside the crease.

Daniel Briere forged a 2-2 deadlock with 3:48 to go in the middle session. The Sabres' co-captain, who leads the team with 80 points, deflected Paetsch's shot from the left point past Brodeur for his 28th of the season.

Dainius Zubrus opened the scoring at 3:23 of the first with his first goal since being acquired from Washington at last week's trade deadline, a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Brodeur to the glove side.

Miller stopped 23 shots for Buffalo, which has lost three in a row.

The Devils took a 2-1-0 lead in the season series, which concludes here on March 28.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 0 3
    BUFFALO 1 1 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DAINIUS ZUBRUS 21 (THOMAS VANEK, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    3:23
    NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE)
    5:40
    2ND PRD: NJD - MIKE RUPP 5 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 0:33
    BUF - DANIEL BRIERE 28 (NATHAN

    Mar 10 10:28 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 2 3
    BUFFALO 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DAINIUS ZUBRUS 21 (THOMAS VANEK, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    3:23
    NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE)
    5:40
    2ND PRD: NJD - MIKE RUPP 5 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 0:33
    BUF - DANIEL BRIER

    Mar 10 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 3
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: NJD - (SH) BRIAN RAFALSKI 8 (JIM DOWD) 19:32

    Devils vs. SabresMar 10 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 2
    BUFFALO 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - DANIEL BRIERE 28 (NATHAN PAETSCH, BRIAN CAMPBELL) 16:12

    Devils vs. SabresMar 10 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 2
    BUFFALO 1
    2ND PRD: NJD - MIKE RUPP 5 (PATRIK ELIAS, PAUL MARTIN) 0:33

    Devils vs. SabresMar 10 8:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 1
    BUFFALO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BUF - DAINIUS ZUBRUS 21 (THOMAS VANEK, HENRIK TALLINDER)
    3:23
    NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE)
    5:40
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 11

    Mar 10 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 14 (JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER, ZACH PARISE) 5:40

    Devils vs. SabresMar 10 7:25 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 0
    BUFFALO 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - DAINIUS ZUBRUS 21 (THOMAS VANEK, HENRIK TALLINDER) 3:23

    Devils vs. SabresMar 10 7:17 PM