The Devils were hit with a major reality check this afternoon when the Buffalo Sabers stepped into the rock. Buffalo came in on a four-game skid and needed a win badly to get back in the right direction and that is exactly what they got. Goaltender Linus Ullmark shined and picked up the shutout for the Sabres.
There was absolutely nothing going the Devils’ way in this game. Once again Buffalo needed a big win coming off of this four-game slide and they came out like they wanted it more. They refused to let the Devils come over the blue line, and when they did they were physical and didn’t allow them to set up or get any legitimate pressure. With 5:26 left in the period, Colin Miller opened the scoring slapping a shot past Mackenzie Blackwood. The truly amazing thing is the Devils had two powerplays in the period and only managed eight shots on goal. That was a woeful effort all around. It resulted in a 1-0 deficient going into the first intermission.
This by far was the worst period of hockey the Devils have played all year. They started the period with a bit of pressure which was something to like. However, just when you thought they would get back into the game they reverted back to the same issues. The only difference was Buffalo put two pucks into the Devil’s net. One from Sam Reinhart and the other from Matt Irwin. Their shot on goal total dropped as they only made Ullmark make six saves.
If you need something to take into tomorrow’s game against Washinton is that the Devils outplayed the Sabres in every way. They finally scored on Ullmark breaking his shutout. The two Devils goal scorers were Kyle Palmieri, his third in two games, and defenseman P.K. Subban. This was his first of the year. The Devils had a solid chance at the end of the game but a Pavel Zacha shot at a wide-open net was blocked away and the rebound was stopped by Ullmark resulting in a 3-2 loss for New Jersey. While the Devils did not play well overall there were some things to like and take into tomorrow.