Every year, there are a few Sabres game tickets that seem to pop up over and over again in gift baskets, church raffles, and office lotteries all over Western New York. You've probably seen them yourself, and gotten excited. "Hey, I've got a chance to win Sabres tickets!", you say to yourself, and hurriedly look for some money to buy or enter a drawing. And you're excited to win them , until it slowly dawns on you why these particular tickets are up for grabs.
Because, for the better part of 20 years, these Sabres vs. Devils games have been a consistently dull, boring affair. Last night's game was no exception, as the Sabres were shut out 2-0 by Cory Schneider and the Devils.
Schneider made just 25 saves to earn his second shutout of the year, with 12 of those coming in the third period. The Sabres struggled so much generating offense last night that they couldn't even get rolling on the power play, going 0-for-3 with just three total shots, a poor effort for a unit chugging along at over 30% recently.
There's not much to analyze here, as this was exactly what you expect from playing the Devils - a clogged up mess in the neutral zone, solid and well-structured defense, and New Jersey capitalized on the few chances they had, while the Sabres couldn't get anything past Schneider, who did make some nice saves to preserve the clean sheet. Linus Ullmark made 19 saves on 21 shots for the Sabres.
Buffalo will get two more chances to get back on track before breaking for a week around the Christmas holiday. Next up is Anaheim on Thursday, followed by Chicago on Saturday. Oh, and congratulations to Cal O'Reilly, who played his first game as a Sabre last night.
1. How will the special teams battle play out?
The Devils won handily here even though neither team scored - limiting a hot Sabres power play to just three shots on three man advantages helped keep the Sabres from gaining any offensive momentum.
2. How will the ice time be split up tonight?
Things were a bit more even among the forwards (Ryan O'Reilly only played 21 minutes) but Bylsma was leaning heavily on Rasmus Riatolainen last night, who clocked in at over 27 minutes of ice time. Bylsma would sometimes put Ristolainen out for an offensive zone faceoff even if it wasn't his pair's turn to play, giving his best defenseman more chances to help drive offense.
3. Can ROR keep his point streak alive?
No, and we're sorry for jinxing you, Ryan.
Comment of the Game
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you,