The Buffalo Sabres put up quite the effort in Monday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, but despite controlling the game for more than half of the sixty minutes and more than doubling up their opponent in shots, the Sabres just couldn’t get it done.
Just about two minutes in, Marco Scandella failed to intercept a pass from Nico Hischier to Blake Coleman in the corner, and Coleman was able to take advantage of the space he got as a result to send the puck behind Linus Ullmark and into the net. Rasmus Ristolainen was also involved (or... not) on the play as he was in front of the net but didn’t step up to challenge the Devils player. As such, New Jersey took a 1-0 lead early in the game - not exactly the start the Sabres were looking for.
As the midway point of the first period approached, the Sabres managed to tie it up on one of the oddest goals you’ll see this week. Sam Reinhart let a shot rip from near center ice; the puck bounced and rolled a lot, and snuck past an unsuspecting Cory Schneider.
The goal was Reinhart’s 20th of the season, marking the third time in four seasons that he’s reached the 20-goal mark.
So Sam Reinhart just scored from center ice...casual. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/cat7EF2B33— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 25, 2019
With Reinhart’s goal, the Sabres and Devils skated off tied at one after 20 minutes. New Jersey narrowly outshot Buffalo 11-10, out-hit them and dominated in the face-off circle.
The Sabres took control of the game in the second period.
Though the Devils managed to get a few high-quality chances, Ullmark stopped them all. The Sabres outshot New Jersey 14-5 in the middle frame, but despite that, the score remained locked at one heading into the third.
Another penalty on the Sabres in the third period cost them. With Vladimir Sobotka in the box, Pavel Zacha took a quick shot from Ullmark’s right. Ullmark was screened on the play by Miles Wood, and the puck went top corner to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.
With 13:36 to play in regulation, it appeared that Reinhart had tied the game.
This time, Reinhart picked up a rebound in front of the net after a Jeff Skinner shot. Amidst some solid Sabres pressure, Skinner’s shot hit Schneider’s pad and came out to the side, right where Reinhart was waiting.
Reinhart’s second goal of the night would have tied the game at two, but the Devils challenged for goaltender interference. After a lengthy review, it was determined that Evan Rodrigues made contact with Schneider and the play was ruled no goal.
Despite the setback, the Sabres continued to control the game throughout the third period. Jeff Skinner had several great chances over the course of the game, including in the third period, but couldn’t buy a goal. He recorded six shots on goal.
Wood sealed the win for the Devils with an empty-netter with 2:25 to play in regulation.
With 1.9 seconds left, Conor Sheary knocked the puck into the net after it popped up over the net from the dashboard behind the net. The officials, however, ruled it no goal, as Sheary knocked it down with a high-stick.
At that point, it likely wouldn’t have made much difference for the Sabres anyway, and they fell 3-1 to the Devils. The Sabres outshot the Devils 46-21 but went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Devils went 2-for-3 on the man advantage.
Rasmus Dahlin led all skaters from both teams with 23:49 ice time.
Monday night’s loss means the Sabres have now lost nine of their last ten games dating back to March 2. It’s a quick turnaround for the Sabres, who travel to Ottawa to face the Senators on Tuesday night.