Devils aim for home-and-home sweep of Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Jersey Devils will look to extend their season-best winning streak to four games on Saturday when they face the Buffalo Sabres in the second half of a home-and-home series.
On Friday night, the Devils skated away with a 2-1 overtime road win in a game that featured an unlikely hero in captain Andy Greene. The steady defenseman was given a penalty shot opportunity 29 seconds into overtime and made no mistake, firing a wrist shot past Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson.
“A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while,” Greene said. “I came in and I was just trying to be patient there. Make sure I don't fall and get a decent shot off. I was thinking about going blocker there, he took it away and try to sneak it five hole and luckily it went in.”
The Devils dominated the second half of the first meeting between the two teams and had several chances to put it away on the power play before Greene's game-winner. New Jersey outshot Buffalo 43-26 overall and 18-5 in the third period.
“We knew that this team was good at home and we had a hard time at the beginning of the game,” said defenseman Yohann Auvitu, who scored in regulation for New Jersey. “But I think that we came through the game and our third period was really good and at the end we get two points and we're really happy for that.”
Both teams are expected to play their starting goaltenders after using their backups on Friday night, and both Cory Schneider and Robin Lehner have gotten off to nearly identical starts to the season. In 10 games, Schneider has a record of 5-3-2 and a save percentage of .928. Lehner, meanwhile, has a record of 4-4-2 and a save percentage of .929 in 10 games.
The Sabres may be without top forward Ryan O'Reilly, who aggravated a previous injury in Friday's loss to the Devils. O'Reilly left the game early in the third period and did not return.
“He felt fine to go and I haven't talked to him other than to know he re-aggravated it in the face-off circle there in the third period,” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Obviously it's day-to-day at this point. I don't know if he can't go (Saturday) … I don't see it lingering longer than getting that chance to rest.”
The Sabres must find a way to create more offense no matter who is in the lineup. They have struggled to generate offense with injuries to several key players and rank 29th in the league in goals per game.
The Devils may be without a key forward as well. Left winger Mike Cammalleri missed Friday night's game due to personal reasons and his status for Saturday was uncertain after the win.
“I haven't spoken with Mike since he left,” Devils head coach John Hynes said. “Will talk with him today and then tomorrow and see where he's at. He flew back to Jersey.