BUFFALO, N.Y. — Pavel Zacha converted Jesper Bratt’s drop pass to score 1:17 into overtime and the New Jersey Devils rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Thursday night.
The Devils snapped a three-game skid by beating an injury-depleted Sabres opponent.
Buffalo opened minus captain Jack Eichel, who was scratched after testing a lower-body injury during the pregame skate. And the Sabres then lost starting goalie Linus Ullmark, who was sidelined after stopping all 15 shots he faced in the first period.
Bratt also scored for the Devils, while Zacha had two assists to extend his point streak to eight games in which he has three goals and seven assists. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 29 shots.
Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart forced overtime by tipping in Taylor Hall’s centering pass for a power-play goal with 4:30 remaining.
Casey Mittlestadt and Riley Sheahan also scored for the Sabres, who dropped to 2-5-1 in their past eight, with both wins coming against New Jersey. Carter Hutton stopped 25 shots in relief of Ullmark.
The decisive goal came with Bratt gaining the Sabres zone and dropping a pass back to Zacha, who was trailing. Zacha then leaned into a snapshot from the right circle to beat Hutton inside the far post.
The game’s complexion turned 2:58 into the third when Hall was penalized for high-sticking Wood while battling for the puck in the Devils corner.
Wood tied it 1:27 later by sweeping in a loose puck at the right post, and after Nikta Gusev’s pass through the middle was blocked.
Hischier scored the go-ahead goal 20 seconds after Hall’s second penalty expired courtesy of another fortunate bounce. Zacha’s centering pass deflected off the skate of Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour and directly to Hischier at the right post, where he swept the puck in under a pile of bodies.
Mittelstadt put the Sabres up 2-1 with a power-play goal in which he redirected Eric Staal’s centering pass from the right boards 8:03 into the second period.
For Mittelstadt, who spent much of last season in the minors, it was his first goal since Nov. 29, 2019. Staal, meantime, earned his 1,029th career point to move one ahead of former New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch into 81st on the NHL list.
The Sabres continue to cash in on their power play in converting two of four chances. Buffalo has gone 16 of 38 in its past 11 games and scored at least once in 13 of 17 outings.