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Game Preview #9: New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres

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Rinse and Repeat: The Devils will look to do exactly what they did yesterday, except slightly to the left (towards the win column)

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (3-3-2) at the Buffalo Sabres (4-3-2).

The Time: 1:00 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, NHL

The Opposition’s SBN Blog: Die By The Blade

The Lineups:

Since we’re playing a double matinee, back to back against the same team, I don’t expect to see much of any changing in the lines (after the shuffling our lines apparently took early on in yesterday’s game), save maybe the goalies.

Buffalo:

Olofsson - Eichel - Thompson
Hall - Staal - Cozens
Reider - Eakin - Okposo
Skinner - Lazar - Sheahan

Montour - Jokiharju
McCabe - Ristolainen
Miller - Dahlin

Hutton (unconfirmed)

Devils:

Bratt - Hughes - Johnsson
Gusev - Zacha - Palmieri
Wood - Sharangovitch - Merkley
Kuokkanen - McLeod - Bastian

Murray - Subban
Smith - Severson
Kulikov - Tennyson (maybe a back to back would be a good time to give Tennyson some rest and play Butcher? Maybe??)

Wedgewood? Comrie? The Zamboni guy from Carolina? I really don’t know where we go at this point in a back to back. Normally you would not want to play Wedgewood again, but with a game that was as close as it was yesterday, do you really want to risk handing the game to Buffalo by not playing Wedgewood? (which is absolutely not a sentence I ever expected to type in my life).

Despite the loss, the Devils played yet another game they really can’t be too mad about. They kept it a tight game, Kuokkanen got his first goal, Johnsson got his first as a Devil, things went well until the shootout, where Jack Eichel happened. Not unexpected. Where things have to improve for this game is the penalties and the special teams. Granted I think most of the calls against us were pulled straight out of the sewer, but we still can’t be in the box that much if we can’t defend our zone on the PK. Even more important, we cannot be wasting a 2 minute 5 on 3 with nearly a full 2 minutes of zone time without a single shot on net. Shots were had, but far too few and none made it through to Ullmark. Give me one more shot on goal on each powerplay, one less shot allowed per penalty kill, and one less stupid penalty, and I think we take this game today no problem.

Unless we change the goalies. Then I make no promises, and may actually hide behind a pillow any time we’re in our own zone.

Your Take

What’s the secret to fixing those special teams? What do you think we should do in net today? How do you like these back to backs? Leave your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!