Quick Hits: Weekend with the Devils

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If you’re reading this, congratulations..you’ve made it! You survived one of the worst things created by modern man, a home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils as the opponent.

As you might imagine, I made sure to occupy my time because matchups with the Devils tend to lead to severe boredom. That led to the executive decision to morph two game stories into one.

Game 1 on Friday night went about as well as one would expect.

As hockey fan should know, this game was full of just absolutely mediocre hockey. 3 total goals in the entire game. Matt Moulson continued the hot start to his season, with his 5th goal of the season.

That was all of the offense for the Buffalo Sabres.

In net, Anders Nilsson was spectacular for the Sabres. Another evening for Nilsson where he was stopping almost everything that came his way, as made evident by his 41 saves on 43 shots.

Nilsson’s early season success (4 starts, 1-1-2 record, .942 save percentage, 1.96 goals allowed per game) has fans thrilled but with inflated career statistics, many people want to keep perspective in their pockets.

The difference on Friday night was a questionable call in overtime. Evander Kane wrapped up Andy Greene, on a 1-on-1. Instead of calling for the obvious penalty, a penalty shot was called.

Greene went five-hole on Nilsson, netting the game-winning goal. This goal was historical for the Devils, since it goes down as the first-ever game-winning penalty shot in overtime in franchise history.

Neat, I guess.

Moving over to Saturday now and the back half of the home-and-home.

*flies imaginary plane to Newark, New Jersey*

How do we be as nice as possible about this?

Buffalo showed up and just played absolutely flat. Yes, New Jersey was looking to run their winning streak to 4 games, but Buffalo just looked dead.

New Jersey recorded the first goal, and it would take the Sabres less than 20 minutes to respond.

Marcus Foligno’s strong start to the season continues. It is very refreshing to see Foligno finally be able to build off a role he succeeds in at the NHL level, probably has something to do with having a real NHL coach.

Foligno scored 10 goals last season, he appears to be on an equivalent pace this season (3 goals in 15 games).

For the sake of time, and your personal sanity, we will sum up the next handful of terrible hockey minutes. Following Foligno’s game-tying goal, New Jersey went on to score 3 unanswered goals. By 6:31 of the third period, the game was over for all intents and purpose.

Matt Moulson did get on the board again, to break the Devils goal streak. At 9:43 of the third, Moulson put home his 6th goal of the season, live from the garbage portion of the ice.

I mean, we usually talk more about the games but these two back-to-back games were very hard to watch.

The Buffalo Sabres will take the ice again this Tuesday night, against the Blues. St. Louis hosts Buffalo, at the Scottrade Center, with faceoff shortly after 8 PM Eastern time. Tuesday evening’s proceedings will be broadcast locally on MSG.

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    • Return of the Matt Moulson
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Matt Moulson, probably.

It really seems like we are witnessing the return of Matt Moulson, eh?

Remember last season, when Moulson looked like he had lost a step while struggling to put up 8 goals in 81 games?

Those days appear to be long gone. In 15 games this season, Matt Moulson has recorded 6 goals. Moulson finds himself on pace for more than 30 goals this season.

How did this happen? The answer seems quite simple.

Matt Moulson appeared to have attempted to switch his game up last year, getting away from who he really was. Moulson has always thrived on being a guy who plants himself in front of the opposing goaltender, waiting for the big rebounds or loose pucks around the net.

Moulson essentially is a garbage man on skates, which is exactly what he has gotten back to this season.

Yeah, we’re only 15 games into an 82 game season but Moulson has quickly changed opinions about his game. Before the season, many were discussing how Moulson would have to be protected to ensure health so he could be left unprotected for next June’s expansion draft. Now, Moulson finds himself playing top minutes with the recent absence of Evander Kane and season-long absence of Jack Eichel.

    • Dreadful Hockey for EK9
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Bad hockey is indeed bad.

What the hell is going on with Evander Kane? Sheesh.

Since returning from a few cracked ribs, Kane has gone pointless in 3 games with 10 penalty minutes and a -3 to boot. Oh and don’t forget the penalty that led to a penalty shot on Friday night.

There is no doubt that Evander Kane is not 100 percent healed. We know that, because Kane told us himself prior to returning. Is there some pressure being placed on Kane from himself? It certainly appears to be the case..

    • Stress Dolls

Want to know why there was a combined recap this weekend? I’ll be glad to share with you!

I was able to go out and see BLTD writer TJ Luckman’s band, Stress Dolls, out at the Bug Jar in Rochester. A fantastic night of local music acts, topped off with a fantastic performance from the Stress Dolls.

Never heard of the Stress Dolls? Well, you’re in for a treat today.

Enjoy their music. Shoot them a follow on Twitter and give them a like on Facebook to see local show dates.

    • Tweet of the Weekend Games

Written by Ryan Wolfe

Ryan Wolfe is the founder and editor-in-chief of BLTD Sports. He can be heard on the BLTD Podcast. Ryan's writing is also featured over at TheHockeyWriters.com.

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