|3:00 PM PT4:00 PM MT5:00 PM CT6:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)18:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 17, 2019
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey Attendance: 16,514
Schneider, Devils face Sabres with spring in step
A stunning victory Friday night was cathartic in more ways than one for the New Jersey Devils, who finally played spoiler on an evening in which goalie Cory Schneider earned his first regular-season victory in almost 14 months.
The Devils will look to build off their long-awaited momentum Sunday, when they play host the Buffalo Sabres in Newark, N.J.
The Devils came back from a three-goal second period deficit Friday to beat the host Minnesota Wild 5-4, in overtime. The Sabres also played Friday, when they fell to the visiting New York Rangers 6-2.
The victory by the Devils allowed them to salvage the finale of a three-game Western Conference road swing in which it appeared all they would do was aid the playoff pursuits of their opponents. New Jersey opened the trip Tuesday with an 8-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues, who entered play Saturday on an eight-game winning streak that lifted them into third place in the Central Division.
On Thursday, the Chicago Blackhawks, who have spent most of the season in the Central basement, moved within two points of a playoff spot by beating the Devils 5-3.
The Devils, who have the second-fewest points in the Eastern Conference, sure seemed to be the cure for whatever was ailing the Wild, who lost six of their last seven entering Friday to fall into a tie for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. And Minnesota appeared headed for an easy win when it took a 4-1 lead and chased New Jersey goalie Keith Kinkaid fewer than eight minutes into the second period.
But Schneider, who underwent hip surgery last spring and missed almost two months this season due to an abdominal injury, stopped all 15 shots he faced, and the Devils supported him by scoring three goals in the final 21-plus minutes of regulation before Nico Hischier collected the game-winner with 1:41 left in the extra session.
The win for Schneider snapped a 21-game regular season losing streak (0-17-4) dating back to Dec. 23, 2017, though he did win Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in May.
"Sometimes things happen in a strange way," Schneider said afterward. "I was more excited for our team to come back and show some mettle and come back to win a tough game after a tough trip."
The Sabres head to New Jersey off a frustrating seven-game home stand in which they failed to make up any ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Buffalo alternated losses with wins (3-3-1) during the extended stay at KeyBank Center and will enter Sunday four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot.
The Sabres, who haven't made the playoffs since 2010-11, are 11-16-5 since a franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak ended Nov. 27. Buffalo has not won consecutive games since Dec. 11-13.
"We have to string some games together here - it's coming down to the home stretch," Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian said, according to the Buffalo News. "Consistency is something we've been up and down with this year. We definitely have to find that if we're going to give ourselves a chance."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 16, 2019
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