Devils-Sabres Preview

New Jersey's stretch of success over the last month began with a win against the Buffalo Sabres.

A third straight victory Friday night would give the visiting Devils their first season sweep of the lowly Sabres in 17 years.

Though New Jersey (30-29-11) is 12th in the Eastern Conference and needs plenty of help over a little amount of time to catch Boston for the final wild-card spot, its current 9-3-2 stretch has kept hope alive. This stretch and a season-high four-game winning streak started with a 2-1 shootout victory over Buffalo (20-43-7) on Feb. 17.

"I've said from beginning that despite our record and how we've done, I don't think we've ever given up," goaltender Cory Schneider told the Devils' official website. "This is not where we want to be by any means (in the standings), but as a group we put the effort in most nights."

Schneider is 7-3-2 with a 1.60 goals-against average as a starter over the last month and has recorded three of his five shutouts during that span. He's also had a major hand in the Devils killing 35 of 37 penalties over the last 15 games.

He made 35 saves during Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh.

''I've felt pretty good for a while now,'' said Schneider, who has stopped 93 of 95 shots while New Jersey has earned five points in the last three games. ''I feel good in net and I'm confident.

''I think my teammates are confident in me. We have that type of synergy going right now."

With the first of back-to-back games Friday, it's possible Schneider could sit one of those contests.

Since joining the Devils, Schneider is 3-1-1 with a 1.15 GAA against the Sabres. He stopped all but two of the 46 shots he faced while winning at home in the first two meetings this season.

New Jersey hasn't swept a season series from the Sabres since taking all four matchups in 1997-98. The Devils have dropped four straight at Buffalo, but three were decided in a shootout.

Veteran Patrik Elias has two goals with two assists against the Sabres this season but he could miss a third consecutive contest due to back spasms. He hasn't scored in his last 10 games and has been held without a point in three straight at Buffalo.

The Sabres look to build on Tuesday's 2-1 shootout win at Boston that snapped an 0-5-2 slide.

Rasmus Ristolainen scored the tying goal early in the third period and Anders Lindback made 44 saves and didn't allow anything in the shootout to record his first win in 13 starts this season between Dallas and Buffalo.

''I think we as a team deserve it," said Lindback, who made 35 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to Washington the night before. "We have been working so hard and where we are it's a tough situation to be in for everyone that is here."

Lindback is 1-3-2 with a 2.41 GAA in seven games since he was acquired from the Stars on Feb. 11.

Leading scorer Tyler Ennis has one of the Sabres' two goals this season versus New Jersey. He scored twice in regulation and again during a nine-round shootout of a 3-2 victory in the Devils' most recent visit to Buffalo on April 1.

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