The Sabres have been searching for a spark, or anything, to get back into the win column,
but it was more of the same on Tuesday night. The New Jersey Devils scored three times in
the opening period en route to a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
The losing streak has hit five and the Sabres are just 1-8-1 over the past ten games as they are
in the midst of a four game road trip.
Jhonas Enroth fell to 11-14-2 in the loss after he stopped 24 of 27 shots he faced.
For the second straight game, the first period has been a major issue for the Sabres, which have allowed seven goals in the last two of them. After falling behind by large margins early on, they have been unable to get back into the game.
“The last three games, our starts haven’t been very good; we’re out of the game before the game starts,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “It boils down to mental preparation. We’ve got to be mentally ready to start. We’ve got to be mentally ready to know our assignments. We’ve got to be prepared. This is the National Hockey League.
Enroth turned away all 14 shots he faced in the final 40 minutes of play, but Buffalo struggled to create much offense.Mikhail Grigorenko scored the lone Sabres goal for his first of the season and fourth of his career.
“I just stood in front of the net. I knew I was alone there and had a little bit of time,” Grigorenko said. “I called for the puck and Stewie made a great pass. I just closed my eyes and shot the puck and it went in.”
It was a big monkey off the back of the Sabres’ forward, who tallied his first goal since he recorded a pair back on November 8th, 2013 against Anaheim.
Phil Varone recorded an assist on the night, but said he knew that he and some of his teammates missed out on some great opportunities.
“I think it was just hard work, putting pucks to the net,” Varone said. “I probably could’ve had four goals myself. So I’m a little disappointed in that. But if the chances are there, you’ve got to be less worried than if they’re not. Hopefully I can convert on a couple and get the boys into it.”
Patrik Elias opened the scoring less than four minutes in, and with a pair of assists he added later, the forward registered his 1,000 career point.
The Sabres will continue their road trip on Thursday when they pay a visit to the Carolina Hurricanes. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.