BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Ilya Kovalchuk had three goals and an assist, and Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots in leading the New Jersey Devils to a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
View our photo gallery from tonights game.
Petr Sykora broke a 1-1 tie 1:44 into the third period, and the Devils extended their road winning streak to five - their best stretch since winning five straight last February.
The Devils, sixth in the Eastern Conference, are 6-1-2 in their past nine games. They are one point behind division rivals Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, back behind the bench for the first time since breaking three ribs in a practice collision said not getting the lead against the Devils was costly. "You know they're a big team. They're a heavy team. We knew that we were going to have to use our speed to get through them. There were times we did. You know the big thing would have been getting the lead and force them out of their game but we didn't we gave them the lead."
Ruff said he had no problem coaching in his return to the bench for the first time in four games. He was not happy about the penalties the Sabres took. New Jersey was 2 for 7 on the power play. "I would say half were bad penalties, just flat-out bad penalties."
Kovalchuk completed his hat trick with an empty-netter with 9 seconds left.
Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres, who have lost two straight following a 5-0-1 run. The Sabres are at Philadelphia Thursday night. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm.