Devils Gameday Preview: Buffalo Sabres – 11/25/22

The New Jersey Devils’ win streak came to an end in a 2-1 loss following a wild night at Prudential Center on Nov. 21 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They will now look to rebound against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center at 8:00 pm. The Devils are 16-4-0 on the season, good for 32 points and first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Sabres, meanwhile, are 9-11-0 and have 18 points, putting them seventh in the Atlantic Division.

New Jersey Devils Gameday Preview MacKenzie Blackwood, Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton
Mackenzie Blackwood, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton (The Hockey Writers)

There are many words to describe the scene at The Rock against the Maple Leafs, but “chaotic” fits the occasion well. The score does not tell the full story, as the Devils had three disallowed goals, one in each period. After the third goal was waved off, the fans in the arena littered the ice in frustration, which led to a delay. Dougie Hamilton scored for the Devils, but a late rally was not enough, as Toronto put an end to the team’s historic winning streak. “If it was going to end, it was going to end like that,” forward Erik Haula said after the loss.

Related: 3 Takeaways From the Devils’ Loss to the Maple Leafs – 11/23/22


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Nonetheless, New Jersey has a prime opportunity to get back in the win column against Buffalo. The Devils took two of three games against them last season. Also, this is the first time New Jersey will play an American team since they met the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 12. The two will not play again until March 24, when they meet back at the KeyBank Center.

Team Rosters

The Devils’ Projected Lines:

Forwards:

Tomas Tatar – Nico Hischier – Fabian Zetterlund

Erik Haula – Jack Hughes – Jesper Bratt

Yegor Sharangovich – Jesper Boqvist – Dawson Mercer

Miles Wood – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian

Nathan Bastian New Jersey Devils
Nathan Bastian, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Defensemen:

Jonas Siegenthaler – Dougie Hamilton

Ryan Graves – John Marino

Brendan Smith – Damon Severson

Goaltenders:

Vitek Vanecek

Akira Schmid

The Sabres’ Projected Lines:

Forwards:

Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch

John-Jason Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn

Victor Olofsson – Casey Mittelstadt – Vinnie Hinostroza

Zemgus Girgensons – Tyson Jost – Kyle Okposo

Defensemen:

Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju

Casey Fitzgerald – Ilya Lyubushkin

Goaltenders:

Craig Anderson

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

What’s Happening in Buffalo:

The Sabres have had their share of ups and downs this season. After starting off with a 7-3 record, they lost eight straight before scoring 13 goals in their past two games, defeating the Montreal Canadiens and St. Louis Blues. Much like Toronto snapped the Devils’ win streak, the Sabres ended one for their opponents on Nov. 21, topping the Blues 6-2 in front of a crowded KeyBank Center and breaking St. Louis’ seven-game win streak. They also wore their famed “goathead” jerseys that they wore from 1996-97 until 2005-06. “We were so excited to wear the black and red and just go out,” Dylan Cozens remarked after the win.

In their last two games, the Sabres scored early, with opening-minute goals in consecutive games for the third time in franchise history. The team has several young pieces, including Tage Thompson, Owen Power, and Cozens. Thompson has 26 points in 19 games this season and is turning into one of the game’s brightest young talents.

Keep an Eye On:

New Jersey Devils: Erik Haula

It must have felt good for Erik Haula to score his first Devils goal against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 19. He has been so close on so many occasions, and he was one of the victims of the disallowed goals against the Maple Leafs. His career has seen a resurgence after scoring 44 points in his lone season with the Boston Bruins in 2021-22. In his first year in New Jersey, he has seven points in 20 games, and he has been a force on the ice. His face-off percentage of 57.25 would be a career-high, and he has 49 shots on goal. He has fit in nicely with the Devils and is adding a touch of offense to a team loaded with firepower.

Buffalo Sabres: Jeff Skinner

When Jeff Skinner signed an eight-year contract extension worth $72 million, the term and average annual value scared Sabres fans. The first two years were rough, but he has found his old form these past two seasons. He scored 63 points last year and has 21 points in 20 games in 2022-23. In the team’s back-to-back wins against the Canadiens and Blues, he had seven points, including a five-point effort in Montreal, and he found the back of the net twice against St. Louis. “I think, for me, when guys have success, it’s because the line is playing well or the team is playing well,” Skinner said. He’s on pace for 84 points, which would be a career-high for the 30-year-old. 

Where to Watch:

The Devils vs. Sabres game will be shown on MSGSN, with Bill Spaulding and Ken Daneyko calling the action from northern New York. The Devils Hockey Network, as always, will provide fans an opportunity to listen to the game. Matt Loughlin and Chico Resch will be on the call for the game as the Devils look to start another win streak.



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