NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Instead of getting down after giving up an embarrassing, early bad-hop goal from center ice, New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider responded with what might have been his best game of the season.
Schneider made 45 saves in stonewalling the Buffalo Sabres and got the benefit of having a game-tying, third-period tally nullified for goaltender interference in leading the Devils to a 3-1 victory on Monday night.
“I can’t let one bad goal sink you for the rest of the game,” Schneider said. “It was more about fighting my way back and keeping us in the game so that’s what kind of motivated me.”
Blake Coleman and Pavel Zacha scored power-play goals as New Jersey won its second straight and for the fourth time in 14 games (4-9-1). Miles Wood added an empty-net goal on a length-of-the-ice shot.
The biggest play in this game was the referee’s decision with 13:36 to play to disallow what would have been Sam Reinhart’s second goal of the game.
Reinhart seemingly tied the game, putting the rebound of a Jeff Skinner shot into an open net with Schneider on the ice.
The Devils didn’t take long to challenge, contending Evan Rodrigues interfered with Schneider, although it seemed New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene was battling with the Buffalo center in the crease.
“I totally disagree with it, the call,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “He’s (Rodrigues) got his territory in front of the goaltender. We are telling our guys to go to the net. He does the right thing and the guy backs into him. They saw it differently, but I disagree with it.”
Even though he was bumped, Schneider was surprised by the reversal.
“Never expect it to be overturned and it was, so it’s a great reversal for us,” he said.
Rodrigues seemed stumped.
“I was there for five or 10 seconds and I thought I was outside the crease,” Rodrigues said. “Their guy comes and makes a little contact with me. I don’t think I went purposely backward, but there was some contact there and they made the call.”
Schneider was outstanding in the final 40 minutes, stopping all 36 Buffalo shots. He stopped Skinner on a breakaway two minutes after the goaltender interference call, and also had a great stop on Tage Thompson on a blast with 2:34 to go.
Zacha had broken a 1-all tie at 4:25 of the third period with a shot from the left circle past a screened Linus Ullmark, who had 18 saves.
Reinhart tied the score with a goal that stunned the crowd at 7:23. The Buffalo forward flipped the puck from center ice toward Schneider and it took a bad bounce past the embarrassed goaltender.
“I was trying to bounce it at the end of the shift trying to get off. I got a lucky bounce,” Reinhart said.
“You never want to give up that goal, it’s just brutal and you feel bad for your teammates,” added Schneider, who earlier this season tended to let bad goals ruin his night.
This time, he ruined the Sabres’ night.
“It’s not a good feeling, no other way to put it,” Rodrigues said. “We did things right. We didn’t give them much. We got pucks on net. We pretty much did everything we wanted to except put the puck in the net. It seems that’s the way it has been going these days.”
The Devils scored on their first shot of the game when Coleman came out of the corner on a power play and beat Ullmark in close at 1:55.
NOTES: Less than 48 hours after sending F Joey Anderson to Binghamton (AHL), the Devils recalled him. He didn’t play. … Sabres recalled D Lawrence Pilut from Rochester (AHL) on Sunday. … Sabres rookie C Casey Mittelstadt, the eighth pick in the draft, was a healthy scratch. … The Devils were 0 for 13 on the power play in the last five games. … Reinhart’s 20 goals are five shy of his career best set last season.
Sabres: At Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Devils: At Detroit on Friday night.
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