Buffalo Sabres vs New Jersey Devils 4/6/21 Game Preview

The Sabres travel to New Jersey to face the Devils who have struggled mightily at home this season with a 4-12-3 record.

(3) of the Sabres (8) wins on the season have been against New Jersey and have a 3-2-1 record against them thus far.

Expected Lines

Sabres

Olofsson-Mittelstadt-Thompson

Skinner-Reinhart-Okposo

*Ruotsalainen-Sheahan-Asplund

Rieder-Eakin-Fogarty

Bryson-Ristolainen

Dahlin-Jokiharju

Miller-Montour

Ullmark

*un-confirmed but likely

Devils

Kuokkanen – Hughes – Sharangovich

Johnsson – Zajac – Merkley

Wood – Zacha – Bratt

Maltsev – McLeod – Thompson* 

Kulikov – Subban 

Murray – Severson

Smith – Vatanen 

Wedgewood 

*NHL Debut

Tale of the Tape

Record: Buffalo (8-23-6; 8th division/31st league) vs. New Jersey Devils (13-17-6; 7th division/27th league)

5v5 Goals For %: Buffalo (37.5%; 31st) vs. New Jersey Devils (47.76%; 18th)

5v5 xGoals For %: Buffalo (47.14%; 22th) vs. New Jersey Devils (49.81%; 17th)

Point Leaders: Reinhart (24) vs. Zacha (20)

News and Notes:

Taylor Hall Trade Imminent?

With rumors heating up about a Taylor Hall trade, it only makes sense for the Sabres to protect one of their most valuable trade pieces by sitting him out.

Multiple outlets have reported Kevyn Adams wanting a 1st round pick for the upcoming UFA this offseason and that would be quite the haul after a disastrous year.

“It’s part of the business, we all know that.”, were the words Don Granato used when asked about Taylor Hall possibly sitting out for Tuesday night’s game.

With 2 goals and 17 assists in 37 games this season, Hall has certainly been impacted by the teamwide struggles. With some salary retention in a trade, any return would be welcomed that includes draft capital and prospects. It seems likely that the Taylor Hall era has ended in Buffalo.

Arttu Ruotsalainen Debut

With news of the Taylor Hall scratch, Sabres prospect Arttu Ruotsalainen will likely make his NHL debut after playing 13 games for Rochester where he accumulated 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists).

 Ruots shot map Buffalo Sabres vs New Jersey Devils 4/6/21 Game Preview

The skilled Finnish forward takes a majority of his shot attempts (Shot map courtesy of Instat Hockey) inside high danger areas and has proven he’s ready to get a shot at the NHL level. While on the small side, Ruotsalainen is very strong defensively and made a seamless transition to the AHL after playing the first part of the year over in Liiga.

Thompson Brothers Face Off 

After recently signing an Entry Level contract with New Jersey, Tyce Thompson is slated to make his NHL debut against brother Tage in what will be a very special moment for the Thompson family.

Tyce finishes his collegiate career with Providence, accumulating 94 points in 101 games. The 4th round pick from 2019 has been trending up for New Jersey since his sophomore season and has definitely earned this chance.

Prediction:

The point streak reaches 5 games and Buffalo wins comfortably with Ruotsalainen picking up his 1st career NHL point. 

4-2 Buffalo. 

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