NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Erik Haula scored two goals and Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves, helping the New Jersey Devils beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on Friday night.
Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens and JJ Peterka scored for the Sabres (3-5-0). Eric Comrie made 16 saves on 18 shots before leaving midway through the second period with a lower body injury, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 18 of 21 shots he faced in relief. Buffalo had won two of three, including a 6-4 victory at Ottawa on Tuesday.
“We play 82 games. It’s a grind and this is evidence of it,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We have to deal with it and make the best of it. Ukko is the least of my concerns. He was good.”
Sabres defenseman Connor Clifton was ejected after a high hit on Devils center Nico Hischier along the boards at the 16-minute mark of the first. The Devils captain played in the second but did not return for the third period.
Haula snapped a tie 14:17 into the third period, putting New Jersey ahead to stay. He also scored a short-handed goal in the second. Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt also scored in the Devils’ third win in four games. Luke Hughes had two assists.
Cozens tied it at 4 with his third goal at 12:35. Cozens has a six-game point streak, the longest of his career.
New Jersey grabbed a 4-3 lead when Jack Hughes scored a power-play goal 2:09 into the third period. Jack Hughes has five goals and 13 assists in seven games this season. Haula scored his first goal of the night 13:47 into the second. He sped in on Luukkonen for a breakaway and flipped a backhand into the net.
Dahlin then tied it at 3 at 17:32, scoring his first goal of the year. Dahlin has a seven-game point streak, also a career-best.
Each team scored twice during an entertaining first period.
Peterka rifled a high wrist shot past Vanecek at 6:11 for his third goal this season. Alexander Holtz tied it for New Jersey at 7:41. Thompson then put the Sabres ahead at 15:42, tapping the puck past Vanecek in a goalmouth scrum for his fourth goal. Bratt tied it again at 16:11, stealing the puck from a Sabres defender and speeding in to beat Comrie for his fourth goal. Bratt is second on the Devils with 11 points.
“There were pockets of real good and pockets of inconsistency,” Granato added. “We need more of the real good.”
Buffalo hosts the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, in its second game this season wearing retro uniforms.