OPINION: Sabres come together to beat Devils

Buffalo finished .500 on its four-game road trip

(WGR 550) - After six pretty bad games at home, the Buffalo Sabres continue to play well on the road, beating the Devils in New Jersey on Tuesday night, 4-1.

Buffalo started the trip poorly, losing to the Capitals in Washington, but the team played three good games after that. However, the Sabres were only able to come away with two wins against the Devils.

In both games in New Jersey, Buffalo got out to 3-0 leads. They won the first one, 3-2, and took Tuesday’s contest, 4-1.

Buffalo got off to a very slow start, and Linus Ullmark kept them in it for the first 10 minutes of the first period. Buffalo got into the flow of the game in the second half of the period, but couldn’t push anything by Mackenzie Blackwood.

Jacob Bryson looked good in his first NHL game, and he almost had his first NHL goal before the period ended. Bryson, who has had good development spending three years at Providence College and one season with the Rochester Americans, took off up the left wing side and accepted a pass from Taylor Hall, only to walk in and hit the post.

Bryson played 17:42, all at 5-on-5, collecting one shot, one hit and one blocked shot. He also was plus-3 on the night.

It wasn’t your typical 0-0 first period, as Ullmark made 15 saves and Blackwood stopped 12.

In the second, Buffalo kept dominating, but it was the same old thing.

On one power play, Jack Eichel missed the net and hit the post. Right afterwards, Sam Reinhart rang the iron. That gave Buffalo three posts just 25 minutes into the game.

Later in the period, the Sabres got another chance with the extra man and Victor Olofsson scored on another one-timer just under the crossbar. That means the Sabres have scored a power play goal in 10 out of 11 games. Olofsson has four goals in his last eight games.

Reinhart got an assist on Olofsson's goal, giving him points in five-out-of-six games, scoring four goals and five assists for nine points.

You still had to wonder if this was going to be another one of those games, because they had 24 shots in the first two periods, yet, they only had one goal.

This was the third-straight game the Sabres spent time around the net and it paid off with two goals in 1:34.

First, Rasmus Asplund came off the bench and headed straight for the net. He hit a Reinhart rebound out of the air, scoring his second-career NHL goal.

After that, Eric Staal got tight to the right wing wall to intercept a clearing attempt by Blackwood. He went to Hall behind the net, and Dylan Cozens went to the front. Hall made a nice feed to Cozens, and the rookie scored his third goal of the season.

I like how the Sabres kept coming at the Devils until Olofsson took a penalty at 17:10. From there, Lindy Ruff pulled the goalie and it was an all-out siege on Ullmark.

Buffalo’s goalie kept diving back-and-forth, making phenomenal saves left-and-right. The barrage continued after Olofsson came out of the box, and 22 seconds after the penalty expired, Nikita Gusev broke though and Ullmark lost his shutout with 27.9 seconds left.

This was the first game all season Ullmark didn’t give up either two or three goals.

The Sabres are already starting to catch up in games played in the East Division.
The Capitals and New York Islanders have played 18 games. The Pittsburgh Penguins have played 17 games, the Sabres, the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers have played 16, while the Philadelphia Flyers have played 15 and the Devils have played 14.

Should the Sabres come home and beat New Jersey in regulation on Thursday, they will go ahead of the Devils in both points and points percentage.

After being on the road for seven days, the team will have Wednesday off.

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