The Buffalo Sabres host the New Jersey Devils tonight in one of their last three remaining home games in the 2013-2014 NHL season. The Sabres look to end a four-game losing streak that capped off March and begin April on a high note. The team has eight games left in the regular season, which wraps up on April 13.
The Sabres are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Matt D’Agostini and Cody Hodgson scored, while Cory Conacher was credited with an empty-net delayed penalty goal tipped off by Steven Stamkos. Matt Hackett had 29 saves in the loss, and the Sabres went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Meanwhile, the Devils are coming off a 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Monday. Travis Zajac led the team with a four-point night, including a hat trick. Jaromir Jagr, Ryan Clowe and Jacob Josefson also scored for the Devils.
As seems to be the trend lately, the Sabres have several injuries to contend with heading into tonight’s game.
Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth remain out with lower body injuries, leaving the Sabres goaltending in the (capable) hands of Nathan Lieuwen and Matt Hackett. Also missing: defensemen Alexander Sulzer and Tyler Myers, as well as forwards Chris Stewart, Zenon Konopka, Torrey Mitchell and Ville Leino.
Nicolas Deslauriers returned to practice this morning – he was out from the last practice due to his wife giving birth. Rasmus Ristolainen and Johan Larsson remain with the Sabres after being called up from the Amerks on Thursday.
It’s expected that Nathan Lieuwen will get the start in goal for the Sabres tonight, with Cory Schneider likely to be his Devils counterpart. Both Schneider and Martin Brodeur saw ice time in Monday’s win over the Panthers; Brodeur got the start allowing three goals on nine shots before Schneider came in to relieve him in the second period.
HEADING INTO TONIGHT
Tonight’s game is the third and final meeting between the Sabres and Devils this season. In the last meeting, Buffalo defeated New Jersey by a score of 2-1. The Sabres are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games against the Devils.
Tonight’s game will be the first for Ted Nolan as head coach – not interim – of the Buffalo Sabres this season. It’s Nolan’s first game as head coach of the Sabres since 1997, so stay tuned to see what he can do with the interim tag removed as this season wraps up.
THE LEADERS: SABRES
- Goals: Tyler Ennis (19), Cody Hodgson (17), Drew Stafford (15)
- Assists: Christian Ehrhoff (26), Cody Hodgson 920), Tyler Ennis (19)
- Points: Tyler Ennis (38), Cody Hodgson (37), Christian Ehrhoff (32)
- Penalty Minutes: John Scott (94), Marcus Foligno (80), Mike Weber (69)
- Shots on Goal: Tyler Ennis (182), Drew Stafford (171), Cody Hodgson (156)
THE LEADERS: DEVILS
- Goals: Adam Henrique (25), Jaromir Jagr (24), Patrik Elias (17), Michael Ryder (17)
- Assists: Jaromir Jagr (40), Patrik Elias (34), Travis Zajac (27), Marek Zidlicky (27)
- Points: Jaromir Jagr (64), Patrik Elias (51), Adam Henrique (43)
- Penalty Minutes: Marek Zidlicky (58), Dainius Zubrus (44), Jaromir Jagr (42)
- Shots on Goal: Jaromir Jagr (204), Michael Ryder (151), Travis Zajac (145)
Tonight’s Sabres vs. Devils game begins at 7 p.m. Only three home games remain for the Sabres this season, with five additional games on the road before the regular season ends on April 13. Stay with it, folks! We’re almost to the end!