Final: BUF 2 NJD 6
Shots On Goal: BUF 25 NJD 31
Power Play: BUF 1/4 NJD 0/4
Hits: BUF 24 NJD 10
Blocked Shots: BUF 10 NJD 13
NJD: Stefan Noesen (1) assisted by Brian Gibbons (1)
NJD: Brian Gibbons (1) assisted by Nico Hischier (1) and Marcus Johansson (1)
BUF: Evander Kane (3) assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen (2)
NJD: Jesper Bratt (2) assisted by Adam Henrique (1) and Mirco Mueller (1)
NJD: Marcus Johansson (1) assisted by Taylor Hall (2)
NJD: Jesper Bratt (3) assisted by Taylor Hall (3) and Andy Greene (1)
NJD: Marcus Johansson (2) assisted by Jesper Bratt (2)
BUF: Evander Kane (4) assisted by Jason Pominville (1)
Buffalo is coming off of a very poor performance against the New York Islanders. Phil Housley made a couple changes to tonight’s lineup. He decided to give Robin Lehner the night off after a bad showing against the Isles. So Chad Johnson would get his first start of the season against the Devils. Also, Sam Reinhart and Ryan O’Reilly got a new set of wingers for today’s game. I like that they finally put a good offensive player like Okposo on Reinhart’s wing. You can’t really expect Sam to put up a lot of points when he has average to below average players on his wings. The rest of the lineup would remain the same from Saturday’s game against New York. Zach Bogosian is still out day to day with an injury. And Josh Gorges and Jordan Nolan were the healthy scratches. The Devils have a record of 1-0-0 after their win against the Colorado Avalanche in their home opener. It’s important for Buffalo to get the win today before they head out west on their early season road trip.
New Jersey took the early 1-0 lead. Brian Gibbons was trying to jam the puck in at the side of the net and the puck was redirected off the face of Stefan Noesen and into the Buffalo net to give the Devils the 1-0 lead.
With a little over a minute to go in the first period, Nico Hischier did some great work behind the net to find an open Brian Gibbons in front of the net to make it 2-0 heading into the 2nd period. Very poor defensive play by Marco Scandella and Matt Tennyson on the Gibbons goal. Shortly after that, Seth Griffith made a nice pass to Ryan O’Reilly in front of the net but he just couldn’t beat Schneider. Buffalo only had two shots in the 1st period.
Evander Kane scored a power-play goal to put Buffalo within one. He showed great hustle on the play and tucked it perfectly past Schneider’s pad. On the goal, Kane drew a penalty so Buffalo would get another power-play after the goal. Kane has probably been Buffalo’s best player through their 3 games. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Kane throughout the season now that he’s a pending unrestricted free agent. It will certainly be a tough decision for Jason Botterill on whether he’ll trade or extend Evander.
Immediately after Kane’s goal, Jesper Bratt tucked the puck past Johnson for a shorthanded goal to make it 3-1. That was the 4th shorthanded goal that Buffalo allowed in their last 3 games. Jesper Bratt was New Jersey’s 6th round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and he’s been very impressive thus far for the Devils.
Yet again, Buffalo makes a horrid defensive play. Nathan Beaulieu gave the puck to Taylor Hall and then Marcus Johansson backhanded the puck past Johnson to put the Devils up 4-1.
Nathan Beaulieu tried to give his team a spark by fighting Buffalo native, Miles Wood. But immediately after the fight, Jesper Bratt tipped the puck past Johnson to make it 5-1 Devils. This Devils team is not looking like the boring team from years past.
With about a minute to go in the 2nd, the defense was nowhere to be found, Bratt made a cross-crease pass to Johansson, and he slotted it past Johnson to make it 6-1. An inexcusably bad effort by the Sabres through 40 minutes.
Robin Lehner would get the start in the 3rd period for Buffalo. Johnson made 16 saves on 22 shots through 2 periods.
It was a very uneventful 3rd period. Not much went on at all for both teams. But Evander Kane scored with about 3 minutes to go for his 4th of the season and his 2nd of the game. Kane wrapped it around the net and it took him a couple of whacks at the puck for him to beat Schneider.
This game was just simply painful to watch. There’s really nothing much else to say. Yes, there’s a new system in place with Phil Housley as the new head coach and it’s going to take a few weeks for everyone to adjust to his new system. But the way they’ve been playing through these first three games of the season is not very encouraging to Sabres fans at all. It’s been an ugly couple of games for Buffalo but I don’t think it’s time to write the team off yet. Give it some time.
Buffalo begins their west coast road trip on Thursday night in San Jose. It’ll be a 10:30 p.m. faceoff.
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