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03/02/2013 8:31 PM EST
Pominville leads Sabres in 4-3 SO win over Devils
BUFFALO 4, NEW JERSEY 3 (OT)

By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- A three-game winning streak isn't nearly
enough for Ryan Miller and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres to be
able to relax.



Miller does acknowledge, however, that they are in a far better
place than where the fragile, slow-starting Sabres were just two
weeks ago when coach Lindy Ruff was fired.



Showing signs of being pushovers no longer, the Sabres got
timely goals and clutch saves, and they displayed resilience in
pulling out a 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on
Saturday.



"It certainly feels better to win. But we've got a lot of work,"
Miller said. "I don't want anybody in this room or organization
to get comfortable."



At least the Sabres (9-12-1) could start feeling good about
themselves while enjoying their longest winning streak since a
five-game run from March 19-27 last season.



Miller stopped 28 shots through overtime, and denied both Devils
chances in the shootout. Sabres captain Jason Pominville, who
had one goal in his previous 11 games, scored twice in
regulation and added another goal in the shootout. Veteran
forward Jochen Hecht ended a 32-game goal drought, dating to
Dec. 30, 2011.



Most importantly, the Sabres showed no hint of a letdown during
the third period when both teams traded one-goal leads.



That is more like it for Ron Rolston, who improved to 3-2 since
taking over for Ruff as interim coach.



"We're getting more resilient as a team now, and I think that's
a good sign for us," said Rolston, who enjoyed his first home
victory. "When I first got here, if we gave up the third goal,
it might have been a different result."



The Devils, by comparison, are now the ones slumping.



New Jersey dropped to 0-3-1 in its past four, matching its
longest skid since Feb. 24-March 1 last season. The Devils
(10-6-5) are 1-4-2 in their past seven, looking nothing like the
team that opened the season on an 8-1-3 roll.



The Devils at least managed to salvage a point in this one.



"I think we're figuring it out again, and things are going in
the right direction," said forward Ryan Carter, who had an
assist in his first game back after missing four because of an
upper body injury. "You take the positives and move forward."



New Jersey's offense is finally rediscovering its rhythm.



Adam Henrique, Steve Bernier and Andrei Loktionov scored for a
team that had been limited to nine goals in its previous six
games.



On the downside, the Devils have yet to win since Martin Brodeur
was sidelined by a sore back. He has missed four games, and
isn't expected to play Monday at Toronto, when New Jersey closes
its three-game road swing.



Veteran backup Johan Hedberg made 20 saves, and gave up both
shots he faced in the shootout, including one to Tyler Ennis.



Miller was perfect at the other end.



Ilya Kovalchuk got Miller down, but shot over the net on the
Devils' first shootout chance. Then Miller got his glove up to
snare Henrique's backhand.



Both teams scored in bunches, and each club had a short-handed
goal.



After Pominville opened the scoring with a short-handed goal
7:17 into the second period, Bernier responded 2:17 later, tying
the game when Mark Fayne's point shot banked in off him.



Henrique put the Devils up 2-1 with a short-handed goal 1:21
into the third period. The Sabres countered 1:49 later when
Pominville was set up to the right of the net by Cody Hodgson's
cross-ice pass.



After Hecht put the Sabres up 3-2 at 9:47, Loktionov tied it
1:35 later.



Buffalo avoided a letdown to win its second straight shootout
game, following a 4-3 victory at Florida on Thursday.



"I think we're not getting down on ourselves when the other team
scores. That might be the biggest thing," Ennis said. "When that
happens, we're staying positive."



NOTES: The Sabres were without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who
has been bothered by an upper-body injury. Rolston said he
expects Vanek to return Sunday, when the Sabres play the Rangers
in New York. ... Sabres C Brian Flynn made his NHL debut a day
after being called up from AHL Rochester. ... Kovalchuk, who had
an assist, played in his 800th NHL game. ... This marked only
the second time this season two short-handed goals were scored
in the same game, according to STATS LLC. Toronto and Winnipeg
scored one each in the Maple Leafs' 3-2 win on Feb. 7. There
were 10 games last season with at least two short-handed goals.

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