The struggling New Jersey Devils will take to the ice tonight against the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in five days. The teams played Sunday afternoon at the First Niagara Center, where the Sabres defeated the Devils 4-3 in a shootout.
Entering tonight’s contest, Buffalo is led by Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson. Vanek leads the team in scoring with 12 goals, 16 assists, and 28 points. Hodgson, a 23 year old Toronto native, has broken out this year, scoring 10 goals and collecting 11 assists. The Sabres are also led by Ryan Miller between the pipes. Miller has struggled this year, and currently is 9-11-2 with a 2.83 goals against average.
The Devils are led by Patrik Elias and David Clarkson. Elias leads the team with 17 assists, while Clarkson has paced the team with ten goals thus far. However, they along with the rest of the Devils have struggled to light the lamp recently. In goal the struggles are greater. Johan Hedberg has had difficulty holding down the fort in the absence of Martin Brodeur. Jeff Frazee, called up yesterday from Albany, is looking to make his NHL debut. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will play tonight.
The Devils are second in the Atlantic Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins at 10-8-5, and are winless in their last six games. The Sabres are curently last in the Northeast Division at 9-13-2.
Tonight’s 7:00 matchup at the Prudential Center will be the second of three contests between the two teams this season. The Sabres will host the Devils on Sunday April 7.
The Devils desperately need a win tonight and two points.