NEWARK, N.J. – It's not easy to come back against the New Jersey Devils. The Buffalo Sabres became just the second team to do it.
Then they won in an electric overtime Friday.
Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first goal of the season with 2:23 left in a chance-filled OT, lifting the Sabres to a 4-3 victory. The goal stunned a Prudential Center crowd that saw its team build a 3-1 lead and hold a 3-2 advantage after two periods.
The Devils were 16-0-1 when leading after 40 minutes. The Sabres were just 1-17-2 when trailing.
The numbers didn't matter, including the Sabres' 1-8 overtime record entering the extra session. They moved it to 2-8 while ending the Devils' five-game winning streak.
More power to them: The Sabres' power play received a chance to tie it with 10:20 to play, and it dominated the Devils' penalty-kill unit. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider stoned Kyle Okposo in front, but he had no chance at stopping Jack Eichel a short time later.
Okposo sent a cross-ice pass to Eichel, and he fired it into the open net to make it 3-3 with 8:56 left. It was Eichel's second goal of the night and 15th of the season. It was his first on the power play.
Challenge accepted: It appeared the tie would last just 1:17 as Taylor Hall collected a bouncing puck, deked goaltender Robin Lehner and scored on a breakaway with 7:39 to play.
The 4-3 lead was erased by Phil Housley's coach's challenge. As Hall flipped the puck to himself at the blue line, he crossed the paint just before the puck did. The video officials took the goal off the board.
The bar: Eichel nearly had a hat trick with 1:24 to play, tipping Rasmus Ristolainen's point shot. The deflection went past an unsuspecting Schneider but bounced off the crossbar.
Making them count: The Sabres took just three shots during the second period. They scored on two of them to enter the third period in a 3-2 hole. The Devils had a 25-14 shot edge through 40 minutes.
Six is a crowd: Every Sabres player on the ice was within 2 feet of the puck when the Devils made it 1-0, yet none of them could get it. An extended net-front scramble saw Lehner, Marco Scandella, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jason Pominville and Benoit Pouliot reach for the puck as Evan Rodrigues slipped behind Lehner in the crease.
The result was a 1-0 lead for the Devils. Buffalo-born Miles Wood scored his 10th goal of the season, pushing the puck through the pile with 6:25 left in the first.
Welcome back: Sabres center Jacob Josefson, who spent seven seasons with the Devils, scored in his first game back. Linemate Jordan Nolan broke up a play at the top of the Buffalo zone, sending Josefson on a breakaway. He slipped the shot under the arm of goaltender Cory Schneider to make it 1-1.
The Sabres mobbed the smiling Josefson with 5:27 off the clock in the second.
Slap it: The Devils regained the lead with 11:26 left in the second, scoring on the power play. Sam Vatanen slid a pass into Marcus Johansson's wheelhouse and the forward fired it under the arm of Lehner for a 2-1 lead.
Screen it: Lehner never saw the Devils take a 3-1 lead with 5:05 left in the second. With teammate Nathan Beaulieu and the Devils' Brian Boyle jockeying in front, a point shot by defenseman John Moore flew past Lehner.
Tip it: The Sabres' third and final shot of the period came with 1:55 left. Jake McCabe unleashed a high shot from the point, and Eichel spun to tip it out of the air for his first of the night.
Shot count: The Devils had a 12-11 shot advantage in the first. Schneider stopped them all, while Lehner turned aside 11 of 12. One of the Sabres' best chances came in the closing seconds as Jack Eichel set up Ristolainen, but the defenseman remained without a goal with a wide blast reminiscent of off-target Alexei Zhitnik.
Scratches: The Sabres stuck with the same lineup as Wednesday's game against the New York Islanders, meaning forward Scott Wilson and defensemen Josh Gorges and Victor Antipin watched as healthy scratches.
The Devils' scratches included former Sabres forward Drew Stafford, who sat for the third straight game. He has five goals and eight points in 30 games, but he has been held without a point in his last 16 appearances.
Milestone: McCabe played the 200th game of his career.
Counting the house: The Devils have captured the fans' interest, and it resulted in the biggest crowd for a Sabres visit in years. New Jersey announced a sellout of a 16,514, and most seats were filled.
Next: It's time for the Sabres' biggest game of the season. They join the New York Rangers in taking the game outside for the Winter Classic at 1 p.m. Monday in Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.