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The Wraparound: Sabres solve back-to-back dilemma, run past Devils

The Wraparound: Sabres solve back-to-back dilemma, run past Devils

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New Jersey Devils left wing Andreas Johnsson (11) attempts to get his stick on the puck as Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark (35), defenseman Jacob Bryson (78) and center Cody Eakin (20) defend during the first period at the Prudential Center on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.

NEWARK, N.J.  It took five tries, but the Buffalo Sabres finally figured out how to deal with a back-to-back.

After going 0-4 in the second game of a set played on consecutive days, the Sabres got the job done Tuesday in Prudential Center. Victor Olofsson opened the scoring with yet another power-play goal and Linus Ullmark made 41 saves as the Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1.

Buffalo (6-8-2) improved to 3-1 against Lindy Ruff-led New Jersey this season and got even in points with the Devils (6-6-2) in the East Division. The Sabres went 2-2 on their road trip, with both wins coming in New Jersey.

The home team had won six straight in this series before the Devils' 5-3 win Jan. 31 in KeyBank Center. The visitors have now taken three in a row. With Tuesday's win, the Sabres have won two straight here for the first time since 2010. 

Ullmark made several spectacular saves on a power play late in the third period before finally getting beat by Nikita Gusev with 27.9 seconds left. The Devils had 21 of their 42 shots in the third period and finished with a 42-37 edge.

Taking the lead: Olofsson broke the ice on a power play for the Sabres with 10:20 left in the second period, banging home a one-timer from the right circle to the top corner. It came off of a great no-look feed from Rasmus Dahlin at the top of the set and strong work down low from Sam Reinhart and Taylor Hall to keep the puck alive as the two-minute advantage was winding down.

Leader board: Olofsson has six power-play goals, tied for third in the NHL and one off the lead of seven held by Dallas' Joe Pavelski and Toronto's Auston Matthews. Olofsson's 12th power-play point got him even with Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl for second in the league. Draisaitl's Oilers teammate Connor McDavid is the leader with 16.

Got to the net, get rewarded: Rasmus Asplund got his first of the season (and second in 32 career NHL games) at 5:16 of the third period, banging home the puck out of mid-air after a deflected shot by Sam Reinhart from the high slot. Dylan Cozens added his third of the year at 6:50, tapping the puck in from the edge of the crease after a nifty backhand pass from Taylor Hall.

Beat the clock: Cody Eakin scored his first goal of the season into an empty net just before the buzzer. It was ruled good on replay. 

Lots of shots, no goals: In a scoreless first period, the Devils got a quick jump on the Sabres early by piling up 11 of the game's first 13 shots on goal. But Buffalo made a big response to get the count within 15-12 by the end of the frame.

Doink, doink, doink: Jacob Bryson, Jack Eichel (twice) and Sam Reinhart all hit posts over the first two periods, preventing the Sabres from building a bigger lead.

In the nets: Ullmark got his fourth straight start on the road trip in what might rate as a bit of a surprise. Especially since the Sabres were on a back-to-back and playing their third game in four nights.

Next: The Sabres are slated to be off Wednesday. They host the Devils again Thursday in KeyBank Center. It starts a run of three home games in four days as they have Saturday-Sunday matinees this weekend against Philadelphia.

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