Sam Reinhart's late power play goal helped get the Buffalo Sabres a point on Thursday night, but that's all they would get, as the visiting New Jersey Devils emerged victorious by way of a 4-3 overtime final at KeyBank Center.
The blue and gold, who debuted their "Reverse Retro" sweaters, played without winger Jeff Skinner, who sat for a third-straight game as a healthy scratch. Buffalo also had to play without captain Jack Eichel, who was a late scratch during pregame warmups.
The Sabres broke the ice just six-and-a-half minutes into the opening frame when Devils defenseman P.K. Subban turned a puck over in his own end. Victor Olofsson corralled the loose puck, and found Riley Sheahan, who let go of a backhander past goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood for the 1-0 edge.
Linus Ullmark got the nod between the pipes to start the game for Buffalo, but he would not finish the contest. After over-extending to make a glove save early in the first period, Ullmark was met by trainers on the ice. The netminder was able to complete the opening frame, but he was replaced by Carter Hutton to begin the second.
Hutton was tested early, shooing away three Devils shots in about the first 45 seconds of his night.
New Jersey would finally break through against the veteran five-and-a-half minutes into the middle stanza. Forward Jesper Bratt cut to the middle of the ice and found twine for his first goal of the year.
Buffalo seized the lead back minutes later when on the power play, Casey Mittelstadt showed off a nice set of hands on a re-direct, as he was left all alone in front of Blackwood.
It was Mittelstadt's first goal of the season.
New Jersey flipped the script in the third period, scoring the tying and go-ahead goals in a span of 2:20. The first came in the front half of a double-minor power play chance, as Miles Wood scored his sixth goal of the season. The second goal came just after the man advantage expired when captain Nico Hischier gave the visitors their first lead of the night, 3-2.
The Sabres had an answer in the waning minutes of the third, as, yet again, the blue and gold capitalized on a power play against the Devils. The man advantage is a place Buffalo had terrorized New Jersey this season, and the latest abuser was Sam Reinhart, as he tapped in a pass off the stick of Taylor Hall.
Reinhart's seventh of the year evened the score at 3-3 with 4:30 to play on the clock. That score held through regulation and eventually led to overtime.
That overtime period ended relatively quickly as just 77 seconds in, Devils forward Pavel Zacha dropped the curtain on the Sabres with a wrist shot that beat Hutton high over his right shoulder.
BUF: 6:28 - Riley Sheahan (2) (Victor Olofsson)
BUF: 8:03 - Casey Mittelstadt (1) PPG (Eric Staal, Colin Miller)
NJ: 5:27 - Jesper Bratt (1) (Pavel Zacha)
BUF: 15:30 - Sam Reinhart (7) PPG (Taylor Hall, Rasmus Dahlin)
NJ: 4:25 - Miles Wood (6) PPG (Nikita Gusev, Ty Smith); 6:45 - Nico Hischier (1) (Pavel Zacha)
NJ: 1:17 - Pavel Zacha (5) (Jesper Bratt, Ty Smith)
NJ: 16:17 - Damon Severson (Slashing - 2 min.)
BUF: 11:51 - Colin Miller (Hooking - 2 min.); 17:01 - Brandon Montour (Interference - 2 min.)
NJ: 6:11 - Dmitry Kulikov (Slashing - 2 min.); 9:20 - Nico Hischier (Tripping - 2 min.)
BUF: 2:58 - Taylor Hall (High-sticking - 4 min. double minor)
NJ: 14:14 - Travis Zajac (High-sticking - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Pavel Zacha - NJ
2.) Jesper Bratt - NJ
3.) Casey Mittelstadt - BUF
The blue and gold stick around in Buffalo for a two-game weekend series starting Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers. Puck drop at KeyBank Center is set for 1 p.m. EST with the Paul William Beltz Pregame Show with Brian Koziol starting at 12 p.m. EST on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.