EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek, the leading candidate to win a second straight Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP, missed Wednesday night's game with the New Jersey Devils because of an ear infection.

Sabres spokesman Mike Gilbert said Hasek, who had started 20 of the previous 22 games, woke up feeling ill, and his condition did not improve. The Olympic gold medalist remained at the team's hotel during the game.

Steve Shields, who played Saturday in a 4-4 tie with Ottawa, started in place of Hasek. Martin Biron, scheduled to play for Rochester on Wednesday in an AHL game at Philadelphia, was recalled to serve as the backup goaltender.