- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: The Devils erupted for a season-high five goals and handed Buffalo netminder Jhonas Enroth his first regulation loss of 2011. New Jersey rode a phenomenal special teams effort to a 5-3 victory over the Sabres on Wednesday night. The Devils (9-7-1) lost in Boston on Tuesday night, but played as complete a hockey game as a team playing the second-half of a back-to-back can. Enroth is now 13-1-1 in 2011 and 6-1-0 this season. He was pulled with 9:39 left in the third period.
HE’S BAAAACK! Ilya Kovalchuk missed the last five games with a groin injury, but returned with a bang. The Russian sniper’s twisted powerplay wrister from the left circle gave the Devils a 2-0 lead in the first period. It was Kovalchuk’s third goal of the season, and first since Oct. 15 in Nashville. New Jersey’s man-advantage unit came into Wednesday night’s game ranked last in the NHL.
MARTY’S BETTER: Martin Brodeur, 39, looked like his vintage self after getting the last two starts off. The future Hall of Fame goaltender made 29 saves -- including a two-pad stack robbery with his glove late in the second that left Sabres captain Jason Pominville looking up at the ceiling. He evened his record to 3-3-0 on the season.
GO SHORTY: Zach Parise's sixth marker of the season -- a short-handed goal -- gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 2:06 in. After Adam Henrique rushed the net and dropped a pass off, Parise got the puck in the slot and beat Enroth five-hole. The left winger hadn’t scored since Nov. 3 against Philadelphia.
STREAK OVER: The Devils had killed off 29 straight powerplays -- and hadn’t allowed a man-advantage goal in their last eight games -- but Buffalo’s Tyler Myers ended it scoring on a rebound. Myers also tallied in the third and finished with his second carer two-goal game.
BEGINNING ANOTHER: After having his seven-game point streak snapped on Tuesday, Patrik Elias had an assist and ripped a one-timer from Petr Sykora for his team-leading seventh goal in the third.
FAYNER: Blueliner Mark Fayne wristed one from the point that found the back of the net to put the Devils up by two in the second. Fayne’s third tally of the season followed a faceoff win by Henrique.
BACKHAND ME: David Clarkson's breakaway backhander in the third capped off New Jersey's scoring for the night. It was his sixth goal of the season.
THE GRAND-YMAN: Ex-Sabre Dainus Zubrus became the 267th player in NHL history to play his 1,000th career game. Zubrus sustained a vicious shoulder check from Myers at 10:29 of the second. He was down for a bit but got right back up, headed to the bench and took his next shift.
NOTE: Mattias Tedenby was a healthy scratch.
UP NEXT: Devils at Lightning, Saturday at 7 p.m.
35dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald