The 500th goal of Gilbert Perreault's career came --...

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The 500th goal of Gilbert Perreault's career came -- finally -- under ideal circumstances.

Perreault Sunday became only the 12th player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal plateau, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils.


The location -- before the home crowd -- and the outcome of the game made it a perfect night for the 16-year veteran.

'It's a good feeling at home after playing 16 years with the Sabres,' said Perreault, 35, the Sabres captain. 'I wanted to score it at home. The fans are unbelievable. I'd like to thank them for so much appreciation.

'It's nice to score 500 with a win,' he added. 'With a loss it wouldn't be that great.'

After being stalled at 498 for more than two months, the slick-skating center registered No. 499 Saturday night, and No. 500 about 24 hours later.

The mileseone, his 18th goal of the season, came in the second period. Doug Smith scored the game-winner late in the third period.

With 4:31 remaining in the game, Smith took a pass from Paul Cyr and fired 30-footer past goalie Alain Chevrier, who was on his knees outside the crease to give Buffalo the 4-3 lead.


Smith's goal came after Greg Adams, who leads the Devils with 32 goals, beat Buffalo goalie Tom Barrasso on the stick side at 8:39 of the third period to tie the score 3-3.

Mike Foligno had given the Sabres a 3-2 lead 2:03 earlier with his 35th goal of the season when he beat Chevrier's stick side.

Devil defenseman Uli Hiemer tied it 2-2 at 12:01 of the second period, taking a Mark Johnson pass and firing a 20-footer into the left side of the net.

At 10:44 Perreault scored his 500th goal with a backhander in front of the net. The 35-year-old captain connected with Foligno, who came from behind the net, and easily beat Chevrier, putting Buffalo ahead 2-1.

Foligno heard Perreault and hurried to assist him.

'All I heard was Gilbert yelling in front of the net and all I kept thinking was just try get him the puck as fast as possible,' said Foligno. 'I just wheeled out in front of the net, I didn't realize he was all by himself as much as he was, and he put it right were he wanted it. He put it right home, scored his 500th, what a big thrill.'


At 2:56 of the second, New Jersey tied it 1-1 with a 2-on-1 breakaway. Kirk Muller and Adams skated in the Buffalo zone and Muller, while looking as if he was going to pass to Adams, instead wristed it above Barrasso.

Buffalo's Gilles Hamel opened the scoring at 4:10 of the first period.

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