Game 21: New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres
Game Time: 3:00 PM EST
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
This Saturday, your New Jersey Devils (10-6-4) will look to snap a 3-game losing streak against the Buffalo Sabres (8-12-1) as they travel to upstate New York. This will be the first of three meetings between the two teams this season, and one of two played at the First Niagara Center. This will also be the second game of a three-game road trip for the Devils, and the last home game for the Sabres until March 12. Last season the Devils went 3-0-1 against the Sabres, winning both match-ups in Buffalo by the scores 5-3 and 4-1.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils offense has been struggling severely lately, only scoring 8 goals in their past 5 games. Most noticeable (or should I say least noticeable?) during the slump has been the play of RW David Clarkson. After starting the season red-hot with 10 goals in his first 14 games, Clarkson has only 1 point (1 A) in his past six games, and hasn’t scored since playing against the Flyers on February 15. Devils leading point-scorer Patrik Elias has been rather quiet lately as well, tallying just 3 points (1 G, 2 A) in his past 5 games. In fact, the majority of scoring for the Devils has come from some rather unexpected names lately, with Andrei Loktionov tallying 2 goals in his last 4 games. The Devils will be looking toward their offense to pick up the pace and start scoring more goals in the coming games. In some positive news, Ryan Carter has been taken off Injured Reserve as of Friday night, making him eligible to play on Saturday afternoon. On the other side of the rink, Martin Brodeur will still be on Injured Reserve until Monday at the earliest, leaving Johan Hedberg and Keith Kinkaid to fill his shoes. Despite finding himself in a 1-0 hole just 8 seconds into Thursday’s match-up, Hedberg did play a solid game, giving up 2 goals on 20 shots. The offense was unable to score more than one goal, however.
The Sabres are coming off a successful 2 game trip to Florida, beating both the Lightning and the Panthers. Just before those two wins, however, the Sabres suffered a 4-game losing streak, dropping games to the Penguins, Jets, Maple Leafs, and Islanders. The Sabres leading scorer, Thomas Vanek (12G, 15A), has been on fire this season, carrying a lot of the weight for the Buffalo franchise. Ryan Miller (8-10-1, 2.83 GAA, .917 Sv%) has had a rather sub-par performance thus far into the season. The Sabres have had numerous games this season where they’ve scored 3 or more goals, but still wound up on the losing side.
What to Watch For
During the final 5 minutes of the Devils loss to the Jets on Thursday, the Devils offense was buzzing and generating some solid scoring chances. They started fore-checking very similarly to last year’s playoffs, and were doing a great job of keeping the Jets pinned deep in their own zone. Expect this type of play from the Devils on Saturday afternoon. The team realizes that they’re in an offensive slump, and will begin putting on a much greater amount of pressure. Ryan Miller will be looking to put on a solid performance in front of his home crowd as he tries to get his record back to .500, and Thomas Vanek will be as offensively dangerous as ever. Expect a fast-paced, back-and-forth game between these two teams, and hope that the Devils offense can hang with the Sabres if the scoreboard starts to climb.
Posted on March 2, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, NHL and tagged Andrei Loktionov, Buffalo Sabres, David Clarkson, game preview, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Ryan Carter, ryan miller, thomas vanek. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.