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Sabres at Devils recap: Flat first period sets tone for loss

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Buffalo offense still struggling to make a mark

Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils
Sabres in front of the Devils goal
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres road form has been their saving grace this season, until it hasn’t. They went on the road on Monday and shipped four against Boston, gave up one goal and lost in the shootout at Ottawa and then in the second game of a home-and-home series, completely fell apart defensively in a second period they had dominated to lose 4-2.

They came out looking distinctly uninspired as the New Jersey Devils got the early goal and proceeded to play keep away for the rest of the period. Without Ryan O’Reilly in the lineup, Sam Reinhart slid up to the top line where he had a decent evening taking faceoffs, but little else.

Whatever Dan Bylsma said to the players at the first intermission worked, because the team came out with some jump in their game, especially the second line of Brian Gionta, Johan Larsson and Marcus Foligno. It was no surprise when Foligno got his third of the season to tie the game at 1-1.

However, it was also no surprise when just minutes later a botched Casey Nelson pinch allowed the Devils a 2-on-1 which they scored from, and then another rush up the ice gave the home side their third of the night.

The game was effectively over then, with shoulders hunching on the Sabres bench, though the second line continued to be effective whenever they were on the ice.

Matt Moulson scored his sixth of the season with the score at 4-1, but the Sabres couldn’t complete a comeback taking a series of lazy penalties towards the end of the game to keep the scoreline at 4-2, having only taken six shots in a third period.

Three Questions

1. Will anyone score tonight more than one goal?

Guess what, the Sabres scored two! However, the Devils scored four and that was that.

2. Will Ryan O’Reilly play tonight?

No unfortunately, and his absence was duly noted on the ice. Sam Reinhart is not ready to be a top-line center in the NHL (yet?).

3. Can the Sabres continue their strong special teams performance from last night?

Buffalo had one PP opportunity all game, which lasted all of thirty seconds until a Evander Kane penalty took care of that. The PK unit was on point though, shutting out the Devils in five separate power plays.

Comment of the Game

Discussion in Toronto:

- "Who’s making the challenge?"

- "Buffalo Sab—"


Posted by go_buff

The Sabres get a day off after nine games in fifteen days, back in action Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues.