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Game Preview #38: New Jersey Devils vs. Buffalo Sabres

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (13-18-6) versus the Buffalo Sabres (9-23-6)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+2

Good Bye Palms and Zajac:

To no one’s surprise, Kyle Palmieri was traded to a different team yesterday. What was surprising, and what hurts more, is that Travis Zajac was added to the deal, meaning the life-long Devil is life-long no more.

While the Devils were able to acquire a 2021 1st round pick, likely as a result of adding Zajac, this trade does sting quite a bit. Because of how good the Islanders are, the 1st round pick will likely be in the late 20s as well, which hurts given the value Palmieri would have achieved in an on year. But alas, hockey is a business, and this is what the Devils have to work with.

Tyce Debuts

Tyce Thompson made his Devils debut in last game’s loss against the Sabres and performed quite well playing with Maltsev and McLeod. He recorded his first NHL assist and point in his debut, assisting on a Damon Severson goal. In terms of advanced statistics, he recorded a 58.33 CF% in his first game, which is obviously very promising, and perhaps will see an increased role for the team as the season progresses.

Nico Update

Some promising news, as optimistic estimates have Nico Hischier back potentially within the next three weeks. After suffering a sinus fracture from a deflected shot, Hischier has slowly worked his way back this season, as he looks to bring some promise and life back to a deflating Devils season.

The Projected Lines

As usual with these types of games, I could only guess that the lines would be exactly the same for the Devils. As such, they should look like this (contingent on no trades).

Kuokkanen - Hughes - Sharangovich
Johnsson - Zacha- Merkley
Wood - Boqvist - Bratt
Maltsev - McLeod - Thompson

Kulikov - Subban
Murray - Severson
Smith - Vatanen

I’d guess Blackwood starts

Your Thoughts: Will the Devils get revenge on the Sabres in this game? Who will score? What are you looking for? Let me know in the comments below, and take care!