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Johan Larsson, Steve Bernier,  Nathan Lieuwen
Buffalo Sabres left winger Johan Larsson (22) battles with New Jersey Devils right winger Steve Bernier (18) as Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen (50) makes a save during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

Leino's SO Winner Lifts Sabres Over Devils 3-2



Ville Leino, who has yet to score an official goal for the Sabres, provided the shootout winner for Buffalo on Tuesday in a 3-2 victory over the Devils. Nathan Lieuwen stopped seven of nine New Jersey shooters and made 33 saves overall for his first NHL win. Tyler Ennis provided both of Buffalo's goals in regulation and also scored in the shootout.

After a scoreless first period, one-time Sabre Dainius Zubrus staked New Jersey to the 1-0 lead at 8:16 of the second. Buffalo tied it up early in the third on Ennis' 20th of the season. Leino led an odd-man rush toward Cory Schneider and slipped a pass over to Ennis, who converted the one-timer.

Ennis struck again just 3:02 later, ripping another one-timer into the New Jersey net, this one coming on the power play. Cody Hodgson sent a feed cross-ice to a waiting Ennis, who roofed the puck over Schneider's glove for the 2-1 lead. The goal, Ennis' 21st, marked a new career high for the Buffalo forward. Only seconds earlier, Drew Stafford prevented a shorthanded breakaway chance by hustling back and swatting Travis Zajac's stick as the Devils center skated in on Lieuwen.

New Jersey answered later in the period with a power play goal of its own. Tuomo Ruutu was credited with the tying goal, deflecting Andy Greene's shot into the Buffalo net. After a five-minute overtime that saw both teams record four shots, to no avail, Ennis opened the scoring in the shootout. The Devils immediately responded when Jacob Josefson beat Lieuwen. Four shooters later, Stafford gave Buffalo another edge, but New Jersey stayed alive with a Jaromir Jagr wristshot. Both Schneider and Lieuwen turned aside the next four shooters they faced before Leino's blast put the Sabres back in front in the shootout. Liuewen stopped Mike Sislo's attempt to preserve the Buffalo victory.

The Sabres, who won for just the third time in 14 games, next head to St. Louis where they'll face Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Derek Roy, Jordan Leopold and the Blues. Buffalo and St. Louis will face off at 8 p.m. on Thursday on WGR 550 and the Buffalo Sabres Radio Network.

1st Period
Goals

None

Penalties
1:25 - NJ - Patrick Elias (2 min., hooking)
8:26 - BUF - Brian Flynn (2 min., delaying game - puck over glass)

2nd Period
Goals

8:16 - NJ - Dainius Zubrus (11) (Michael Ryder, Damien Brunner)

Penalties
None

3rd Period
Goals

1:39 - BUF - Tyler Ennis (20) (Ville Leino, Drew Stafford)
4:41 - BUF - Tyler Ennis (21) (PPG) (Cody Hodgson)
6:58 - NJ - Tuomo Ruutu (7) (PPG) (Andy Greene, Marek Zidlicky)

Penalties
3:32 - NJ - Steve Bernier (2 min., high-sticking)
6:35 - BUF - Ville Leino (2 min., holding)
12:18 - NJ - Jacob Josefson (2 min., boarding)

Overtime
Goals

None

Penalties
None

Shootout
BUF - Tyler Ennis - GOAL
NJ - Jacob Josefson - GOAL
BUF - Cody Hodgson - MISS
NJ - Damien Brunner - MISS
BUF - Zemgus Girgensons - MISS
NJ - Marek Zidlicky - MISS
BUF - Drew Stafford - GOAL
NJ - Jaromir Jagr - GOAL
BUF - Marcus Foligno - MISS
NJ - Travis Zajac - MISS
BUF - Cory Conacher - MISS
NJ - Tuomo Ruutu - MISS
BUF - Brian Flynn - MISS
NJ - Patrick Elias - MISS
BUF - Matt D'Agostini - MISS
NJ - Adam Henrique - MISS
BUF - Ville Leino - GOAL
NJ - Mike Sislo - MISS

Goaltending
NJ - Cory Schneider (25 saves, 27 shots)
BUF - Nathan Lieuwen (33 saves, 35 shots)

Power Plays
NJ - 1 of 2
BUF - 1 of 3

Three Stars
1.) BUF - Tyler Ennis (2 G, 0 A)
2.) BUF - Nathan Lieuwen (33 saves)
3.) BUF - Ville Leino (0 G, 1 A)


Has the preseason affected your expectations for the Bills season?
  Yes, they'll be much worse than I thought
  Yes, I'm upping my expectations
  No. The preseason means nothing.
 
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