New Jersey Devils (1-0-0-0 SU, 1-0 PL, 0-0-1 O/U) vs Buffalo Sabres (0-1-0-1 SU, 1-1 PL, 1-0-1 O/U)
When: 3:05 PM EDT, Monday, October 9, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York
Lines: Buffalo -127/ New Jersey +114
NHL hockey action on Monday afternoon and the Metro Division will duke it out with the Atlantic Division as the New Jersey Devils invade KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York to take on Buffalo Sabres. The Devils come in off a nice 4-1 win over the Avs, while the Sabres are off a 6-3 loss to the Islanders on the road. Goalie Probables: Cory Schneider will get the nod for the Devils in this one and he will be opposed by Robin Lehner.
Schneider Starts Strong For The Devils
The New Jersey Devils made a couple of nice moves to help out their offense, but they still need Cory Schneider to bounce back from a rough season a year ago and he did get off to a very nice start with a 4-1 win over the Avalanche on Saturday afternoon. Schneider stopped 50 of 41 shots in the win for a .976 save percentage. He really needed to get off to a strong start after going just 20-38 with a 2.82 GAA and a .908 save percentage last year, including going 6-20 with a 2.9 GAA and a .906 save percentage on the road. For the Devils to have a shot at the postseason this year, he must have a bounce-back season. In his career, he has gone 65-97 with a 2.44 GAA on the road and 20-18 with a 2.25 GAA during the month of October, while against the Atlantic Division he is 29-43 with a 2.30 GAA and he is 7-5 with a 1.56 GAA against the Sabres in his career. Scoring for the Devils in the win was Adam Henrique, Jimmy Hayes, Jesper Bratt, and John Moore. The Devils need to get off to a fast start and they hope to keep it going in this one against the Sabres, who are off to an 0-2 start to the year.
New Jersey was ranked 28th in the league in scoring last year at 2.20 gpg, while also ranking 29th in shots taken (27.8 spg) and 22nd in power play conversions, converting on 17.5% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were not very good as they ranked 24th in goals allowed, giving up 2.94 gpg, while also ranking 21st in shots allowed (31.4) and 23rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.3% of their chances.
Lehner Struggles In Loss To The Islanders
The Buffalo Sabres really needed to get off to a fast start this year as it would build confidence for them moving forward, but it hasn’t happened so far. They played well in their opener against the Canadiens, but fell by a score of 3-2 in a shootout and then in game two they looked like last year’s team that had the 2nd fewest points in the Eastern Conference as they fell to the Islanders on the road by a score of 6-3. Robin Lehner really struggled in that game as he allowed four goals on just 16 shot attempts. Lehner did not have a great season a year ago as he was 23-34 with a 2.68 GAA overall, including 13-19 with a 2.59 GAA here at home. In his career, he has gone 28-50 with a 2.82 GAA in his home starts and 6-11 with a 2.44 GAA in October, plus 9-26 with a 3.19 GAA against the Metro Division, including 1-6 with a 2.69 GAA against the Devils. They really need for him to get on track as they just don’t have enough offense to overcome bad goaltending. Evander Kane scored twice in the loss to the Islanders, while Jack Eichel also scored as well. They are the two big scoring threats on the team and will need both to have a big year.
Buffalo was not a good offensive team last year as they ranked 24th in the league in scoring at 2.48 gpg, while also ranking 15th in shots taken (30.4 spg) and 1st in power play conversions, converting on 24.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were a bit below average as they ranked 19th in goals allowed, giving up 2.82 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots allowed (34.3) and 25th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 22.4% of their chances.
New Jersey is:
- 4-0 in the last four meetings in Buffalo
- 8-1 in the last nine meetings in this series overall
- 28-59 in their last 87 games following a loss of three or more goals
- 12-29 in their last 41 after allowing five goals or more in their previous game
The Sabres were looking to get off to a fast start, but that hasn’t happened as they have lost both their games so far. Robin Lehner had a good showing in their opener against the Canadien, but a bad one in game two against the Islanders and that is the norm for him as he has gone just 9-26 with a 3.19 GAA in his career against the Metro Division. This is not a good matchup for him as he is just 1-6 with a 2.69 GAA in his career against the Devils, while Cory Schneider is 7-5 with a 1.56 GAA in his career against the Sabres and he looked very good in the opener against the Avs. The Devils have a clear advantage in the crease in this one and that should lead them to victory.