Another Day, Another Must-Win
It's another must-win for the Buffalo Sabres as they visit the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
Buffalo Sabres (40-32-7) vs. New Jersey Devils (50-22-8)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Prudential Center | Newark, NJ
Know Your Opponent
New Jersey Devils
Last Game: 2-1 loss to Boston
Division Ranking: 2nd in the Metropolitan Division
PP: 21.8% (13th)
PK: 82.4% (8th)
What to Watch
1. Will It Be Levi Again?
There's no guarantee, but it would appear that rookie goaltender Devon Levi could get the start again tonight. Levi has been outstanding in his appearances this season, going 4-1, including Monday's shootout win over the New York Rangers. He has a 2.89 GAA and .908 save percentage.
Based on Don Granato's comments, what it will come down to is the level of fatigue Levi may be feeling. If he's up for it, it's his net - and deservedly so. Levi gives the team its best chance to win.
Let's also keep in mind that while tonight is a must-win, the Sabres still have two more games this week – which could also be must-win games for the playoff race.
2. The Hughes Effect
One player to watch tonight for the Devils will be defenseman Luke Hughes, who is expected to make his NHL debut.
The 19-year-old recently finished his second season at the University of Michigan, where he had 48 points (10-38) in 39 games. He was also an alternate captain. In addition, he captained the American World Junior team which won bronze this past year, putting up five points (4-1) in seven games.
Hughes is, of course, the brother of New Jersey's Jack and Vancouver's Quinn. He is noted for his skating, passing and offensive read. Jack, meanwhile, has four points - including three goals - in the season series against Buffalo.
3. Staying Alive
A win tonight keeps the Sabres' playoff hopes alive. That needs to be the focus. What the other teams involved do - well, it certainly matters, but there's that saying: control what you can control.
Do, or do not. There is no try.
Jeff Skinner – Casey Mittelstadt – Alex Tuch
Jordan Greenway – Dylan Cozens – Tage Thompson
JJ Peterka – Tyson Jost – Jack Quinn
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Riley Stillman – Ilya lyubushkin
Goaltenders: Devon Levi (likely), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Eric Comrie
New Jersey Devils
Tomas Tatar - Nico Hischier - Dawson Mercer
Ondrej Palat - Jack Hughes - Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier - Jesper Boqvist - Yegor Sharangovich
Miles Wood - Curtis Lazar - Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler - Dougie Hamilton
Ryan Graves - John Marino
Luke Hughes - Damon Severson
Goaltenders: Vitek Vanecek, MacKenze Blackwood