NHL Game Preview - Devils v Sabres

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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT, April 8, 2021
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York  Attendance: 0

Sabres aim to continue success vs. Devils

New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres

  1. Buffalo has four wins against NJ this season, and five wins combined against the other five teams in its division. The Sabres are scoring 3.29 goals per game against the Devils and 1.96 against the rest of the NHL.
  2. NJ has a -15 power-play goal differential this season, 29th in the NHL ahead of only the Red Wings (-16) and Ducks (-17). Since February 27, Buffalo's -10 power-play goal differential ranks 30th in the NHL (Ducks, -14).
  3. Casey Middlestadt has three goals and five points during his four-game point streak, compared to one goal and five points over his first 19 games this season. He had his first multi-point game of the season on Tuesday.
  4. Pavel Zacha had a goal and an assist on Tuesday, and both his multi-point games this season have come against the Sabres. He scored his eighth goal in his 36th game of the season, matching his goal total from last season, in which he played 65 games.
  5. Buffalo scored five goals in its win over NJ on Tuesday, just the Sabres' third game this season scoring 5+ goals -- the only team in the NHL with fewer such games this season is the Devils (two).
  6. With a goal and an assist Tuesday, Jesper Bratt had his first multi-point game since March 6 -- two of his three multi-point games this season are against Buffalo. He's scored a goal in two straight, and four of his five goals this season have come since March 21.

Amid a dismal season, the only sustained success the Buffalo Sabres have enjoyed has come against the New Jersey Devils.

Looking to extend their points streak to a season-high six games, the host Sabres will try for a second victory in three days over the struggling Devils on Thursday night.

Since its shootout-era-record 18-game winless stretch (0-15-3), Buffalo is 3-0-1. The Sabres also have earned at least one point in five consecutive games. Down a goal late in the second period Tuesday against New Jersey, the Sabres scored three unanswered goals to pull out a 5-3 victory.

"Obviously, it's been documented pretty well we had a tough stretch there, but it's good to get rewarded," said Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt, who scored the go-ahead goal Tuesday and has three goals with two assists in the past four games.

"It's good to have the guys have smiles on their faces. See guys having fun. We have to remember the feeling and keep going."

The Sabres have had plenty to smile about while posting a 4-2-1 mark vs. New Jersey this season. The Devils are the only East Division team against whom Buffalo has a winning record.

Mittelstadt has four points in his past three games against the Devils, while defenseman Rasmus Dahlin has two goals and five assists against vs. New Jersey this season.

Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark, who made 27 saves for his third straight win Tuesday, is 4-0-0 with a 2.04 goals-against average over five starts versus New Jersey in 2020-21. With Carter Hutton (lower-body injury) day-to-day, current Sabres backup Dustin Tokarski (0-3-1, 3.79 GAA) could oppose the Devils for the first time this season.

New Jersey, which is in an 0-2-2 rut, has yielded five goals in three of its past four games.

"We need to be better as a group," said Devils forward Jesper Bratt, who has a goal in two straight games and 11 points in his past 12 contests. "It's a hard division and you've got to compete. I think we have another gear, and we need to get it fixed up for the next game."

New Jersey goalie Scott Wedgewood allowed four goals for a second straight start Tuesday and has given up seven in two outings vs. Buffalo this season.

Devils forward and Buffalo native Miles Wood has four of his team-leading 11 goals against the Sabres this season. Meanwhile, Buffalo veteran Kyle Okposo has two goals and six assists during his past eight games.

With the Devils' playoff prospects looking bleak, New Jersey dealt two pending unrestricted free agents, forwards Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri, to the New York Islanders on Wednesday. The Devils received two prospects, forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst, plus a first-round selection in this year's draft and a fourth-rounder next year.

It's uncertain if Buffalo's Taylor Hall will be a healthy scratch again Thursday as the Monday trade deadline looms. Hall, who has two goals and 17 assists in 37 games this season, hasn't seen action since April 3.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 7, 2021

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