Coming off of two demoralizing defeats at home against the Flyers, the Devils kicked off their first road trip of 2021 in Buffalo New York. While the team fought hard and battled back from 1-0 and 3-2 defeatists they would fall by a score of 4-3 in shootout fashion.
This period went by at a snail’s pace. Neither team could generate much pressure and both teams iced the puck at an efficient clip. The main story of the first period was the slick hands of Jesper Bratt. He took a long pass and split three Buffalo defenders firing a shot into the glove of Linus Ullmark. While this didn’t result in a goal Bratt drew two penalties. One, a slash from Eric Stall and the other a tripping call against Brandon Montour. This resulted in a full two minutes of 5 on 3 action in which the Devils failed to register a single shot on goal.
After the feeling out process was over the scoring came fast and furious from here on out. Eric Stall lead off the scoring breaking a scoreless tie about halfway through the period. With roughly two minutes to go in the period, Eric Stall took his second penalty of the game, this one a holding call. This time, however, the Devils cashed in on their opportunity with a goal from outstanding rookie defenseman Ty Smith. The goal was assisted by PK Subban and Pavel Zacha.
This was by far the best period for both teams as each team beat the goaltender twice. Andreas Johansson got the scoring started 1:37 into the period to give the Devils their first lead of the game. However, 41 seconds later the Sabers would tie the game on a goal by Tobias Rieder. Eight minutes and 38 seconds later the Sabers would take another lead on a powerplay goal by Victor Olofsson and the secondary assist went to former Devil Taylor Hall. However, it was not over. With about four minutes to play, Janne Kuokkanen netted his first NHL goal to tie the game at three.
In the five-minute overtime period, a lot of nothing happened. Both teams had decent chances but no goals found the net. In the shootout, the Sabers sent out Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, Victor Olofsson. Eichel was the only one who scored however, goaltender Scott Wedgewood was beaten all three times. For the Devils, forwards Jesper Bratt, Nikita Gusev, and Kyle Palmieri shot and they were blanked. The Devils are now 0-6 on shootout opportunities this season. They will play the Buffalo Sabers again tomorrow with a 1 pm puck drop for the second consecutive game.