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Game Recap

Buffalo have no answer for Devils’ trap game

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Well, you’ve certainly heard this story before.

The Buffalo Sabres hosted the New Jersey Devils, at the First Niagara Center on Friday night.

Things started off well for the Sabres, featuring a first period where both teams exchanged opportunities but neither side could score.

Buffalo’s play has continued to look improved everywhere but the goal department.

Once the second period rolled around, things took a turn for the ugly.

When all was said and done, the Sabres would find themselves down 2-0. Oddly enough, it was ex-Sabres forward Steve Bernier who potted both goals.

Aside from the very important pair of goals, Buffalo outplayed the Devils on paper. Again, that’s why it is important to look at what is happening on the ice. Just because Buffalo was the better team in the shots department doesn’t always mean they were the better team on the ice. 

As any hockey fan knows, once the New Jersey Devils gain a lead, they turn down the offensive pressure just a tad and begin to implement their infamous trap defense.

For the most part, the Devils were able to quiet the Buffalo Sabres’ offense. A Matt Moulson power play goal, midway through the third being the only blemish on the Devils’ sheet.

For a Buffalo Sabres team playing their first game of a back-to-back, tonight’s performance was certainly troubling.

Following tonight’s loss, the Sabres are hopping on a plane to Nashville, where they’ll meet one of the best in the West.

Prior to the game, the Sabres announced the recall of forward Mikhail Grigorenko.

When all was said and done, Grigorenko only recorded 8:09 time on ice tonight, with no shots and a -2 rating. 

After the game, head coach Ted Nolan had some sour words for Grigorenko and his lackluster performance. “He’s got to be better,” Nolan told the media, passed along by Olean Times Herald’s Bill Hoppe. 

One more quick note to pass along – defenseman Andrej Meszaros returned tonight from injury, following a few games absence with what was aptly termed an upper body injury.

Meszaros stayed off the score sheet, but did log 20:36 time on ice. With finally returning to health, it is expected that Ted Nolan will lean on Meszaros through these final handful of games.

With tonight’s loss, the Buffalo Sabres’ record falls to 20-44-7, leaving the Sabres with 47 points. For those keeping score at home, both Arizona and Buffalo have played 71 games, but the Sabres remain three points back. 

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Administrator/Writer at Sabres Hockey Central.

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