Devils defeat Sabres in first game without Palmieri, Zajac


BUFFALO — Jesper Boqvist scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Pavel Zacha scored two power-play goals, and Jack Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich and Janne Kuokkanen each had a goal and two assists for the Devils (14-18-6), who had lost their past four games (0-2-2). Aaron Dell made 24 saves for his first win of the season.

The Devils were playing their first game since trading forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Victor Olofsson, Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner scored, and Linus Ullmark made 32 saves for the Sabres (9-24-6), whose five-game point streak ended (3-0-2).

Olofsson took a pass from defenseman Henri Jokiharju in the low slot to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the first period.

Zacha backhanded a rebound in front on the power play to tie it 1-1 at 2:06 and scored at 3:47 from the top of the left circle on the power play for a 2-1 lead.

Hughes extended the lead to 3-1 at 16:04.

Thompson made it 3-2 on the power play at 11:56 of the second period.

Skinner tied it 3-3 when he backhanded a loose puck at the right side of the net at 18:21.

Boqvist put the Devils ahead 4-3 when he picked up the rebound of wraparound attempt at 8:45 of the third period. 

Sharangovich made it 5-3 from the right circle at 18:17, and Kuokkanen scored an empty-net goal at 19:28 for the 6-3 final.

Sabres forward Taylor Hall (precautionary) was held out of the lineup for the second straight game.

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