New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres - 7:00 pm
Prudential Center - Newark, New Jersey
TV: MSG Radio: WFAN 660 am, 101.9
The Devils are back in action against the Buffalo Sabres, following their rousing come-from-behind victory on the road in Carolina. They take on a Buffalo team that is 6-20-1 on the season. The Devils can't be fooled by their record though. If they come out sluggish, they'll pay. It will take another strong effort to come away with a win, despite the opponent's record.
If last night was a turning point of sorts, we may very well find out tonight. The line of Andrei Loktionov, Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner seemed to fit well together. They scored a big goal and got more and more comfortable together as the game went on. If they're able to build on that for tonight, it'll give the Devils some of the secondary scoring they've been looking for.
Here's tonight's lineup:[sny-box]
Goaltender: Cory Schneider
Some thoughts on tonight's game:
1. Set the tone early. Against a team like Buffalo, you have to come out and bring the game to them. If you can get an early goal or two, it may end up being an easy skate to the finish. Adversely, if you let the Sabres stick around, or get a goal or two, they can be dangerous. A little confidence can go a long way. The first period was no problem for the Devils last night. They managed one goal on 14 shots. More of the same is needed.
2. More offense out of the back end? The Devils defense has provided a spark in the offensive end as of late. Andy Greene and Marek Zidlicky continue to put up points, but it's Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill's play that has turned heads. The pair of rookie defensemen each had a point against Carolina on Friday. If they can continue to produce good scoring chances, it will alleviate some of the pressure on the forwards to create on their own.
3. Goals for Cory and another start as well. Not only did Cory Schneider have some offensive support last night, he played well enough to earn the start tonight. This is the first time that a Devils goaltender has played both ends of a back-to-back. His 1.89 goals against average and .923 save percentage speak to the kind of season he has had so far. Tonight is another chance for him to make his case to take some of the playing time from Martin Brodeur.
Prediction: Devils 3, Sabres 2
This is going to be a tougher game than many would like. Coming off of last night's big third period, the Devils are going to come out slow and they'll find themselves down 1-0 after one period. After that, the teams will trade goals in the second, but a two goal third period will be just enough for New Jersey to eek out a win.