The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (19-7-1) @ the Buffalo Sabres (16-8-2). This is the second meeting of the season.
The Last Devils Game: With the celebration of the 1995 Stanley Cup team, the Devils came out of the gate with emotions high. The problem was that the emotional lift didn’t carry them through the entire game and the Devils watched a 2 goal lead evaporate. In the end, shootout goals from Parise and Elias sealed the deal.
The Last Sabres Game: The Rangers held Buffalo scoreless until late in the game and were able to beat the Sabres 2-1. It was one of those game where the opposing team’s goalie steals the show and gets the victory for his team.
The Last Sabres/Devils Game: Buffalo got out to a lead quickly and they never looked back. They took it to the Devils 4-1 but this was during the streak in which the Devils were unable to put together a decent effort in their own building.
Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils are starting to slip back into the team we saw under Brent Sutter, the team that seems to sit back a little on a lead and then play too much defense in order to get the win. Sometimes it works and sometimes, like Saturday the opposition finds a way to erase that lead. The Devils MUST hit the gas at all times. The Sabres are not a team that you can sit back on, at any point in time.
I’d like to see a little more from the top 6 forwards. I don’t feel like they are putting enough shots on the opposing goalie, 74 shots in the last 3 games. I thought the first period agasint Detroit was excellent but it dropped off after that. In a game against a deep team like Buffalo, I’d like to see that first period from Saturday executed all night long.
Prediction Time: Sabres will want to bounce back from the Rangers loss and the Devils probably feel a little too content about themselves at the moment after winning 2 in a row. Sabres 3 – Devils 1.