Devils v Sabres: Battle For A Winning Record, part 2
A regulation tie in yesterday's contest guarantied that neither team would leave with a losing record. Overtime came and went without a score. The shootout would determine which team goes over .500.
The Sabres dominated, absolutely dominated, the Devils for the first eight minutes of the game. Things did not look good for New Jersey until Buffalo was called for a pair of simultaneous minor penalties. Some have been referring to this as a double minor. However, it is not. A double minor is for a single penalty that is more serious than a standard two minute penalty such as headbutting or when a high sticking penalty draws blood.
These simultaneous penalties resulted in two minutes of 5 on 3 play. New Jersey was unable to score or even get off a shot as Buffalo's penalty killers, Lazar, McCabe, and Ristolainen, did a magnificent job of defending. Oddly, this somehow seemed to signal a turning point. It was as if the Devils players got comfortable controlling the puck and being in the Buffalo zone during the penalty. Attack zone time evened up for the remainder of the period.
Sabres would strike first in the second period with a goal by 36 year old center Mark Eric Staal. Sabres' second and third goals would come from Rieder and Olofsson. Devils goals would come from Ty Smith, Andreas Johnsson, and Janne Kuokanen. There were ten penalties in this game and each squad scored once on the power play.
The overtime session provided as much as excitement as the regular session but it ended before a victor could be declared. In the shootout, Sabre Jack Eichel was first up and wasted no time in giving Buffalo the advantage by hitting the back of the net against Wedgewood. Wedgewood rallied by not allowing anymore pucks behind him in the shootout. It wasn't enough as Sabres netminder Linus Ullmark was a wall, letting in nothing during the shootout.
Buffalo is victorious in the battle for a winning record! However, New Jersey has the chance to reverse it today at 1 p.m. in Buffalo's Keybank. With a regulation win, the Devils would end their trip to Buffalo with 3 points, a winning record, and bring their new division rival back to even in the standings.
Reinhart and Blackwood remain out. Sabres have called up Casey Mittelstadt for today's contest. The battle rages on.