NEWARK, N.J. – Buffalo has established itself as a tough team to beat at home. The road is a different story.
The Sabres dropped their third straight on the road Monday, suffering a 2-1 loss to New Jersey. The Sabres fell to 2-6-1 in their last nine road games.
Buffalo is 1-3-1 in its last five overall. The Devils outshot the Sabres, 39-23.
Winner: The Devils survived a coach's challenge to take a 2-1 lead with 7:27 to go. Michael Cammalleri's point shot bounced off goaltender Robin Lehner's glove and popped in the slot. Pavel Zacha connected on the rebound.
Buffalo's Dan Bylsma challenged after it appeared Adam Henrique's stick hit Lehner's glove at the same time as Cammalleri's shot. The referees ruled it was a good goal, giving the Devils their second power-play tally. Evander Kane was in the penalty box for high-sticking.
Helmetless Part One: Devils defenseman Karl Stollery came flying down the blue line to crush Girgensons into the boards with 7:23 gone in the second. Stollery hit Girgensons high, and the Buffalo forward’s helmet flew off as he fell to the ice.
Helmetless Part Two: Girgensons, nicknamed the “Latvian Locomotive,” saw Stollery in his tracks a few minutes later. He returned the favor, hitting Stollery so hard into the boards that the defenseman’s helmet popped off.
Taking the lead: Kane took exception to Stollery’s hit, rushing toward the defenseman and starting a scrum. When officials untangled the pile, they gave Kane four minutes for roughing and doled out two minutes to New Jersey’s Steven Santini.
The Devils took advantage of the power play with a head’s up play by Henrique. He accepted a pass behind the net, saw the Sabres’ Cody Franson at the top of the crease and promptly fired the puck off the defenseman’s skate. It caromed into the net with 8:46 gone in the second.
New Jersey entered the game just 14-8-7 when scoring first, a winning percentage of .483 that ranked 28th in the NHL. Buffalo was 27th with a 13-6-6 record and .520 winning percentage.
Tie game: Tyler Ennis reached the score sheet for the third straight game, this time with a surprising goal to make it 1-1. The winger skated down the right side of the Devils' zone and ran out of room. He spun at the goal line and sent the puck to the net. It slid between the pads of New Jersey goaltender Cory Schneider with 11:21 to play.
Ouch: Jake McCabe and the corner of the glass combined to send Jacob Josefson to the dressing room early in the second. Josefson carried the puck with speed near his bench, and McCabe lined him up for a check. McCabe connected where bench ends and glass starts. Josefson’s head bounced off the stanchion, and the forward dropped to the ice.
He was helped to the dressing room but returned later in the period.
Retribution: The Devils’ Joseph Blandisi sent Tyler Ennis into the boards with a hard check early in the first period. Nicolas Deslauriers didn’t like it, dropping the gloves with Blandisi for a bout that featured only a couple of punches thrown by Deslauriers.
Tough call, good call: Anders Nilsson served as the backup after entering the game with conflicting numbers. He is just 2-6-3 on the road this season with a .904 save percentage. However, he is 4-1-1 against the Devils with a .953 save percentage.
Lehner, meanwhile, entered the game with a 5-1-1 record and .928 save percentage in 2017. But he was just 1-4-1 in his first six appearances against the Devils, putting up a .906 save percentage. He was impressive this time.
Counting the house: The Devils announced 12,105 tickets sold, though the actual attendance in Prudential Center may have been half that number.
Next: Monday was the start of a busy week for the Sabres, who will play five games in seven days. They’ll host San Jose on Tuesday and Anaheim on Thursday. Buffalo visits Toronto on Saturday and hosts Vancouver on Sunday.
“It’s going to feel like a nine-day week with the amount of games we’ve got,” Bylsma said.