The Sabres look to shut down the Kovalchuk-less New Jersey Devils tonight at home in their third meeting this season. So far they have split shootout wins, both times the home team being the victor.
In their previous matchup, Jhonas Enroth led the Sabres with a great performance, trying to get his first win in over 15 months. He was not able to hold the lead and left the game after Elias scored the game-tying goal in the late third. Enroth suffered an ill-timed muscle cramp, and Miller was unable to get his team the win.
That game also saw Brian Flynn score his first career NHL goal, who has gone on to notch three more in the month, including a game winner he scored on on Friday night against Ottawa.
The Devils will come into the First Niagara Center with recent addition Steve Sullivan. He was drafted by New Jersey back in 1994 and his return provides some veteran depth at forward (Sullivan was traded to Toronto in 1997 which saw ex-Sabre Doug Gilmour head to NJ).
New Jersey played last night and suffered a tough loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brodeur was shaky, saving only 16 of 18 shots, and the Leafs were able to capitalize on the few chances they had.
Buffalo enters this game on a two game winning streak. On Friday night, Luke Adam got his first goal since December 17, 2011 and helped his team beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2.
Ryan Miller stopped 35 of 37 shots Friday night, and broke Dominik Hasek’s franchise record for most saves.
The playoff bubble now includes the Sabres again as they have earned 36 points and have closed in on the 8th place New York Islanders (42 points). The Devils are in-between at 39 points and are winless in their last six games.
Both teams will be missing big parts of their offensive game as they battle desperately to make the playoffs, with Thomas Vanek and Ilya Kovalchuk both missing extended periods of time.