New Jersey Devils (19-15-1, 39 points) vs Buffalo Sabres (17-15-3, 37 points)
7:00 PM EST
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight’s game will be the second between the Sabres and the Devils this season. The two squads last met on November 16 in Buffalo, which saw the Devils take a 5-3 win.
Larsson Returns From Sweden:
The big story for the New Jersey Devils coming into tonight’s game is the return of Adam Larsson. Larsson had been granted permission from the team to return home to Skelleftea, Sweden in order to attend funeral services for his grandmother.
Despite the dismal circumstances of his travel, and the stressful 12-hour trip, the time away from the team seems to be used to refresh the rookie, who averages 21:55 of ice time per game so far this season.
Coach Peter DeBoer told The (Bergen) Record that Larsson looks good, “I think he appreciated the trip home and we’re glad to have him back.”
Key to Winning:
*Do not put puck in own net.
Last Game Against Buffalo:
NJD (W) @ BUF (L)
Final Score: 5-3
The last time these two teams met, rookie goaltending-sensation Jhonas Enroth got the start for the Buffalo Sabres in place of the injured Ryan Miller. Going into the game, Enroth was a perfect 6-0-0 on the season and had gone nearly a full year since losing in regulation. However, the New Jersey Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk returning to the lineup after missing five games due to leg injury.
The Devils got goals from five different players in the game, including the returning Kovalchuk. Also scoring goals were Zach Parise, Mark Fayne, Patrik Elias and David Clarkson. These five goals were enough to chase Enroth from the game, halfway through the third period.
Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots for the Devils, including a couple game savers which earned him the third star of the game.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus
Tedenby – Zajac – Clarkson
Boulton – Sestito – Janssen
Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Foster
Taormina – Fayne
The Latest on the Buffalo Sabres:
Heading into tonight’s game, the Sabres look to win back-t0-back games for the first time since a five game winning streak from November 4-12. In their last game, the Sabres put up four goals against the struggling Washington Capitals, in the first period alone. Ryan Miller made 20 saves in his sixth straight start to give the Sabres the win.
In the game against Washington, the Sabres powerplay put up a pair of goals, including rookie Brayden McNabb’s first career goal. The Sabres powerplay now has seven goals in the last five games, which will be a good match for the league’s best penalty-kill in New Jersey.
When it comes to statistically-hot Sabres players, captain Jason Pominville currently has three points in his last two games and 11 in his last eight. Meanwhile, the Sabres’ leading goal scorer, Thomas Vanek, has a five game point scoring streak in which he has collected eight points in that timeframe.
Projected Sabres Lineup:
Vanek (A) – Hecht – Pominville (C)
Boyes – Roy (A) – Stafford (A)
McCormick – Gaustad (A) – Kaleta
Adam – Ellis – Kassian
Ehrhoff – McNabb
Regehr – Sekera
Leopold – Weber
The IIHF World Championship continued this week and even though Team USA is out, we’ve still got a few guys to root for.
This week opened up on Wednesday with the Czech Republic’s shut out win over the United States sending Mark Fayne and Nick Palmieri home.
Mattias Tedenby helped Sweden knock down Czech Republic, and Patrick Elias’ two goals, with an assist during their 5-2 win on Friday. Sweden will now face Finland with Anssi Salmela for the Gold medal on Sunday in Bratislava.
Including Elias’ two goals on Friday, he has put up four goals and five assists overall, leading the team with nine points in eight games.
Salmela and Finland shut out Russia 3-0, leaving Ilya Kovalchuk battling Elias and the Czech Republic for Bronze. Kovy scored the game winning goal in Russia’s victory over Canada (sorry Zajac!), it was his first goal of the tournament. He has earned six points in eight games with one goal and five assists.
The final games will both be played on Sunday, May 15th. The battle for Bronze will be at 10AM ET and Gold at 2:30PM ET.
Here’s this weeks breakdown.
Wednesday, May 11
Czech Republic 4, USA 0 – Elias, 2 SOG
Sweden 5, Germany 2
Thursday, May 12
Finland 4, Norway 1 – Salmela, 4 SOG
Russia 2, Canada 1 – Kovalchuk, GWG
Friday, May 13
Sweden 5, Czech Republic 2 – Elias, 2g; Tedenby, 1a
Finland 3, Russia 0