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5 Observations: Devils top Sabres in OT 2-1

5 Observations: Devils top Sabres in OT 2-1
Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 23:19:51-05

The Buffalo Sabres (5-5-4) and New Jersey Devils  (7-3-3) have a knack for playing low scoring games and on Friday they did it once again. Buffalo dropped their third straight, falling 2-1 to New Jersey after Andy Greene scored on a penalty shot in extra time. Five observations from Friday's loss: 

Scoring woes continue

1
2
0
1
1

No, this isn’t one of those weird math questions you see on Facebook -- that’s how many goals the Sabres have scored respectively in their last five games. Averaging one goal a game isn’t going to take a team very far — but somehow, the Sabres managed to escape their last five contests with four points. It's not ideal, but with five goals the Sabres could've very realistically lost every game in regulation. 

Nilsson stands tall

Robin Lehner has looked very good this season and is playing arguably the best hockey of his career. However, when Anders Nilsson has been called upon he’s stepped up and played just as good as Lehner. Friday, Nilsson once again had a solid game from start to finish, making 42 saves. Early on he was tested by New Jersey’s most explosive player, Taylor Hall, but managed to stop Hall on a two-on-one with a beautiful flash of the glove. Eight minutes into the second period Nilsson outdid himself, stopping another odd man rush, making three saves in a matter of seconds. The Devils finally beat Nilsson early in the third period on a Yohann Auvitu shot from the point. There was a lot of traffic in front of the crease, making it a tough shot to see. After the game Nilsson said he felt good but it doesn't matter because the team couldn't get two points. Overall, Nilsson has looked very impressive and has given the Sabres two good options in net — and that’s a good problem to have.

Baptiste & Grant giving Sabres an extra spark

Speed kills, man. Baptiste might be the Sabres quickest player and every time he’s on the ice you can tell. Grant hasn’t found the back of the net yet this season, but he’s starting to get more chances, which is promising. William Carrier, Baptiste and Grant’s other line mate, had a good chance on a two-on-one halfway through the first period, but was denied by Kinkaid. Secondary scoring has been a problem for the Sabres all season and if they can start getting more production from their fourth line maybe they’ll climb out of the league basement for goals scored.
 

Kane makes Sabres pay

With less than ten minutes left in the third period Evander Kane took a double minor high-sticking penalty giving the Devils a four minute power play. Anders Nilsson bailed Kane out, stopping every shot he faced. Then, on the first shift of extra time, Kane took another penalty while Devils defenseman Andy Greene was streaking to the net. Greene was awarded a penalty shot, and beat Nilsson five-hole, giving the Devils a 2-1 win.

"Didn't expect to see it be that," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said after the game. "It was a penalty but I didn't expect to see the arm go to the center ice."

Sabres fans will think it was a terrible call. Devils fans, on the other hand, will think it was the right call. Personally, I think it should have been a penalty, not a penalty shot. The Sabres now drop to 0-4 when games go to overtime.

O'Reilly leaves game early

Add another key player to the Sabres injury report. Going into Friday's game Ryan O'Reilly status was up in the air, but he managed to dress and play the first two periods without issue. Then, a few minutes into the third period, O'Reilly left the Sabres bench and didn't return. After the game Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said "obviously it's day to day at this point. If he can't go tomorrow, with a day off tomorrow and another day off on Sunday in between, you know I don't see it lingering longer than getting that chance to have some rest."

The Sabres play the Devils again Saturday night in New Jersey at 7:00 p.m. 

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