Andy Greene felt the pressure before taking his first penalty shot in the NHL.
"I was just trying not to embarrass myself," Greene said. "I didn't want to become the next YouTube sensation."
Instead, Greene became the first Devils player to convert a penalty shot in overtime, scoring 29 seconds into the extra period to lead New Jersey in a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Greene earned his penalty shot when he was held from behind by Buffalo's Evander Kane on a breakaway up the left side.
"I was hoping they would let someone else take it on the ice," the Devils' captain joked afterward.
Greene, who has never participated in an NHL shootout, is the first Devils defenseman to score on a penalty shot since Scott Niedermyer in 1998. Greene made a move to his left and slipped a forehand between the pads of Sabres goaltender Anders Nilsson. Greene's only other goal this season came on an empty net.
The Devils got both their goals from defenseman as Yohann Auvitu scored his first NHL goal to tie the game in the third period. Keith Kinkaid made 25 saves to help the Devils win their third straight.
Matt Moulson scored for Buffalo and Anders Nilsson made a season-high 41 saves. The Sabres have lost three straight and are 0-4 in overtime games this season.
Both teams played their backup goaltenders in the opener of a back-to-back home-and-home series.
The Devils won despite going 0 for 6 on the power play. Buffalo killed a four-minute high-sticking penalty on Kane in the third period and a 5-on-3 disadvantage spanning 1:25 of the second period.
"The power play is just one part of the game," Devils coach John Hynes said. "It was good to see the players who were on the power play, it didn't affect the rest of their game and that's why we were able to find a way to do it in a different way."
Auvitu scored the tying goal 3:13 into the third period. Taylor Hall and Travis Zajac cycled the puck to the the French rookie defenseman at the point and his long shot went in off the cuff of Nilsson's glove. The goal ended the second-longest shutout streak of Nilsson's career at 119:46.
"It's obviously a save I would like to make," Nilsson said.
Nilsson made 17 of his saves in the third period.
"For his work, you'd like him to get the W," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.
Moulson scored on a power play to give Buffalo the lead 10:34 into the game. Kinkaid stopped Kyle Okposo's shot from the left slot but the rebound bounced to Moulson on the other end of the net and he fired the puck into the top right corner. Moulson has five power-play goals this season, tying him for second in the NHL.
Top-line center Ryan O'Reilly returned for the Sabres after missing one game with a mid-body and recorded his 200th NHL assist on Moulson's goal. But O'Reilly aggravated the injury on a face-off late in the third period and did not return.
"We'll see where he's at for tomorrow," Bylsma said. "I don't see it lingering."
NOTES: Devils F Mike Cammalleri missed the game for personal reasons and his status for Saturday night's game is uncertain, Hynes said. ... Sabres D Dmitry Kulikov missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Star C Jack Eichel has yet to play this season due a high-ankle sprain but is nearing a return, Bylsma said. F Tyler Ennis is also out indefinitely with a groin injury ... Buffalo recalled F Justin Falk from the minors on Friday. ... Former Sabres G Dominik Hasek attended the game wearing his Hall of Fame jacket. He received a standing ovation from the crowd when shown on the video scoreboard during the second period. . The Sabres observed Veterans Day by wearing camouflage jerseys during warm-ups and holding a moment of silence before the game for U.S. Army Capt. Andrew Byers, who was killed last week in Afghanistan.
Devils G Cory Schneider and Sabres G Robin Lehner are expected to start when the teams meet again Saturday night at Prudential Center.