Sabres Vs. Devils Review 1/9/2019
Tonight, the Sabres altered their lineup. They put Skinner, Sobotka, and Thompson on the first line. Sam Reinhart was moved down to the second line with Rodrigues and Sheary. This shakeup of the lines really helped Buffalo by distributing offensive prowess. Putting more offensive talent deeper in the lineup may be their best hope of scoring more goals this season. With so many new and young skater this season, no line should be set in stone. Whenever coach Housley does this, the Sabres have an easier time scoring goals, considering that Jack Eichel is out until the next game. They will need him to have a chance against the Lightning. For the Devil’s Taylor Hall is still injured, which is a huge detriment to their offense, along with Anderson, Blackwood, Johansson, and Schneider.
From puck drop, the Sabres had great offensive zone pressure. Until 1:28 into the first period when Coleman deflected Wood’s shoot into the net. Scoring on New Jersey’s first shot of the game. Sadly, this was a weak goal that got through Hutton very early in the game. Luckily, the Sabres had consistent offensive zone time throughout the remainder of the period. The only penalty of the period was taken when Dahlin got called for hi-sticking. The Sabres finished the first period in control, and the Devil’s didn’t seem to have any answers.
The second period pretty much ensured a win for Buffalo. Very early in the period Skinner put a beautiful shot past Kinkaid to tie the game. Still early in the second, Smith took a shot that just trickled into the net. The play was reviewed, and the puck just barley crossed the goal line. Halfway through the period, Mittelstadt scored a pretty goal to put the Sabres up 3-1. The scoring continued when Rodrigues and McCabe had a 2-on-1 rush. McCabe received a perfect pass from Rodriguez and buried it into an open net. Finally, at the end of the period, Pilut got his first of the year when his point shot made it past Kinkaid. Sam Reinhart provided a very good screen giving Kinkaid very little chance to stop the puck. The Sabres finished the second period leading 5-1.
The third period had no scoring what so ever. Buffalo successfully held the 5-1 lead and prevented the Devils from getting any momentum. The only other thing worth taking away from this period is that there were seven penalties, four for Buffalo and three for the Devils. Middelstadt took a hooking penalty, Rodrigues took a roughing penalty, Pilut got a misconduct, and Ristolainen committed a holding penalty. All the Devil’s penalties were a response to Rodrigues’ and Pilut’s penalties. The period ended and the Sabres won this game 5-1.
Hutton saved 20 out of 21 shots, and Kinkaid saved 28 out of 33 shots. Besides Hutton’s early game mishap, he played very well. Saving multiple breakaways and preventing New Jersey a chance to comeback. The three stars of the Game were Smith, Pilut, and Thompson, respectively. Tage Thompson had a phenomenal game tonight, producing many scoring chances for the Sabres. Dahlin also caught my eye tonight. Proving that he will become one of the best defenseman in the league, given time to develop. With the return of Jack Eichel, we can only hope that Phil Housley keeps the lines the way they were tonight. This may reignite the magic the Sabres had when they won 10 games in a row. This was a fantastic performance by the Sabres. Hopefully they can build some momentum because of this game.