Friday, the Buffalo Sabres will look to snap a two game skid when they take on the New Jersey Devils for their first matchup of this season at KeyBank Center.
New Jersey has a bit of a revamped roster with the additions of Taylor Hall and PA Parenteau. Offensively, both these teams have struggled: The Devils have just 29 goals on the season, three more than Buffalo.
Players to watch in Friday’s game:
Nilsson is 1-1-1 this season in his three starts, and has looked very impressive in two of those outings. Nilsson’s last game was a shutout against the Florida Panthers, making 33 saves to earn the Sabres their first shutout victory of the season.
In his first three games Nilsson has an impressive .937 save % and 1.96 goals against average.
Three games is of course a very small sample size, but early on goaltending has been the least of the Sabres problems. Robin Lehner will get the start tomorrow when Buffalo travels to New Jersey for the second part of a home and home with the Devils.
Will Kane be able to add something to this offense that the team has been missing? In his first full game on Wednesday, Kane showed flashes of the player that Tim Murray traded for – but he needs to be that dynamic scoring threat every time he hits the ice.
Last season we saw Kane take over a few games and dominate at both ends of the ice, which is what the Sabres need from him again this year. It will take time until Kane is 100% healthy while dealing with three cracked ribs, but for the Sabres sake they’ll need to forward to find the back of the net sooner rather than later.
As of Friday only one team has fewer goals than the Sabres this season.
In his first 12 games with New Jersey, Hall has nine points, (5G, 4A) but he has the potential to go off during any game he plays.
He’s the Devils’ most talented player since Ilya Kovalchuck went back to Russia.
Keep an eye on Hall tonight – I fully expect this to be a low scoring game but I think any scoring New Jersey gets come from him in some way, shape or form.