HAMILTON: Sabres forced into a defensive game
Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- The Devils never seem to disappoint, they remain the team that had done more to ruin hockey than any other team, ever.
In the first period of this one, the teams combined for 11 shots with the only real offense coming from New Jersey when they were shorthanded. The newest Buffalo Sabre, Zenon Konopka, centered John Scott and Matt Ellis in the first period. He played five shifts for 3:22 with one hit in the opening period and went three for six on faceoffs.
The second period was pretty much going like the first when on a power play, Christian Ehrhoff made a careless play at the red line allowing Adam Henrique to walk in 2-on-0. Ryan Miller made a great save and it all changed for Buffalo. They brought the puck back up ice with purpose and got their first sustained pressure of the hockey game going.
Cory Schneider had to make good saves on Tyler Myers in the slot and Jamie McBain next to the net. Tyler Ennis took control inside the zone and put a wraparound into the crease area. Both Marcus Foligno and Matt Moulson were there and Moulson scored his 14th. Ehrhoff got an assist giving him 10 points in his last 16 games.
During the first two periods, it seemed like Zonopka was feeling his way through his first game as a Sabre. After 40 minutes he had 12 shifts for 7:50 of work. He won seven of 14 faceoffs and had two hits.
In the third, Mike Weber had a great open ice hit on Andrei Loktionov and of course, even though it was hard and clean, he had to fight Ryane Clowe. Why can't there be hitting any more in the NHL?
Later while killing a penalty, Tyler Myers stepped into former Sabre Dainus Zubrus hammering him right under the chin. He went for an illegal hit to he head giving New Jersey a 1:01 two man advantage.
The Devils tied the game when Travis Zajac punched a puck over to Michael Ryder who has scored many goals in his career from that position in the slot.
This morning Ted Nolan criticized Matt D'Agostini for not being around the net enough. When Steve Ott was on a power play, he took the puck to the net and D'Agostini followed him. There was a big rebound and he had his first goal as a Sabre.
"I've been skating good and getting shots, but mostly from the outside," said D'Agostini. "Getting inside and getting to the net is where you get most goals in this league. I think we did a better job of that tonight."
"Look at all the goals," said Nolan. "Look at Matty Moulson's goal. Almost every one of them within two, three, five feet from the crease. D'Agostini's been playing great, he's been having some good opportunities, but they've been opportunities out a little bit further. So he had to get to that net area and I was glad to see him finally get that one."
Linus Omark assisted on D'Agostini's goal, getting his first point as a Sabre. Omark has been on the power play and I've liked that his passes are right on the tape and he's not phased by pressure.
"He's a skilled player and he's got a lot of poise with the puck," said D'Agostini. "He did a great job up there on the half wall and that's the type of player you need up there."