So far, February is looking a lot better than January for the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres.
The Sabres look to build on their first win in five road games Saturday when they visit the New Jersey Devils.
Buffalo (35-14-4) beat Boston 3-1 on Thursday for its first win on the road since a 2-1 victory over Chicago on Jan. 10. The win was also the Sabres’ second in a row—both in a home-and-home series with the Bruins—since a season high-tying three-game losing streak.
“We found a way to get one, and it’s nice to win on the road again,” coach Lindy Ruff said.
Chris Drury had two goals and Martin Biron made 33 saves Thursday for Buffalo, which went 6-7-1 January—its worth month since December 2003. Still, the Sabres lead the Atlantic Division-leading Devils (31-15-6) by six points in the conference standings.
“January wasn’t our best month,” Biron said. “We knew that those two games were worth a lot for the (Bruins) to get back into the playoff picture, and it was up to us to respond. And I think it was like we wanted it to be.”
Biron started both games against the Bruins in place of All-Star Ryan Miller. Ruff wanted to give Miller some rest, but is expected to play his starting goalie against the Devils.
Miller has lost both of his starts since the All-Star break, allowing a total of eight goals. He is 24-10-3 with a 2.70 goals-against average for the season.
Daniel Briere picked up two assists Thursday, giving him five goals and eight assists during a seven-game point streak. In the middle of that stretch, he had a goal and four assists to earn MVP honors at the All-Star game.
“We were a little sluggish in the first,” Drury said of Thursday’s game. “We made a lot of turnovers in the first and created chances for them. We were able to fix that between the intermission, and from there I thought we were pretty good.”
New Jersey has won three of its last five games, including Thursday’s 6-5 overtime victory over Philadelphia. Brad Lukowich scored with 49.5 seconds left in overtime after Zach Parise had the tying goal with 31.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
“I had a bad 63 minutes, so I had to have at least one good shift,” said Lukowich, who also had an assist after not recording a point in his previous five games. “Hopefully the coach (Claude Julien) will forget about most of the bad shifts I had. I felt like I was trying to do too much. It was one of those games. I just felt I had to contribute better.”
Rookie Travis Zajac added a pair of goals for the Devils, who were coming off consecutive losses at Florida and Atlanta.