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Surging Sabres meet red-hot Devils

Wednesday, 10.28.2009 / 7:00 PM

NHL.com

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Surging Sabres meet red-hot Devils
Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils

SABRES (6-1-1) at DEVILS (6-3-0)

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the first time this season. They split the four-game season series in 2008-08, with the road team winning all four games. The clubs combined to score 21 goals last season, but only eight were scored in Buffalo's two wins at PrudentialCenter in Newark.

Big Story -- New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur is one shutout away from tying Terry Sawchuk's all-time career record of 103. If it does happen this season, he'll accomplish the feat in five fewer seasons than Sawchuk, who spent 21 seasons in the NHL. But the Sabres have not only won all three of their road games this season, but are winners of six of their first eight games for the second straight season. Buffalo went 6-0-2 to open the 2008-09 campaign.

Team Scope

Sabres -- Besides the stellar play of goaltender Ryan Miller, one other development in Buffalo has been the tremendous play of rookie defenseman Tyler Myers, who was the only skater among 12 to find the net in a 3-2 shootout win over TampaBay on Saturday. The Sabres will have to decide whether they're going to keep Myers or send him back to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League following Wednesday's game.

"I haven't (made a decision), and we haven't, because we know what the time frame is," general manager Darcy Regier told the Buffalo News. "We know that we've got the games to watch him, and we'll take that time. As a group, we really haven't talked about it a lot because we're going to allow it to play out, then we'll make a decision afterward."

Devils -- Just when New Jersey appeared to be finding its groove in coach Jacques Lemaire's system, defenseman Paul Martin (broken arm) and forward Jay Pandolfo (shoulder) went down with injuries in Saturday's 4-1 win at Pittsburgh. Martin had been leading the team in ice time (23:57) and shifts (30.6) per game prior to the injury. Brodeur has certainly rebounded well following a sluggish start, and the "Z-Z-Pop Line" has been producing -- Zach Parise has at least one goal in four straight games, Travis Zajac has 2 goals and 5 points during his four-game point streak and Jaime Langenbrunner has points in four straight (5 points).

Who's Hot -- Miller improved to 6-0-1 after stopping 24 of 26 shots and all six shootout attempts, including those by Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, in the victory at TampaBay on Saturday. He's allowed only 12 goals this season. Buffalo right wing Mike Grier, who signed with the Sabres in August, has 3 goals this season -- he had 10 all of last season. Martin Brodeur has played all nine games of the season so far and has allowed just 10 goals in five road games. He is one shutout from tying Terry Sawchuk's all-time record of 103.

Injury Report -- The Devils' 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday certainly came with a price as Martin (fractured left forearm) and Pandolfo (dislocated right shoulder) could each miss 4-6 weeks. Forward Patrik Elias still hasn't practiced with the team this season after undergoing arthroscopic groin surgery on Sept. 15. Buffalo defenseman Andrej Sekera (ribs) is out.

Stat Pack -- David Clarkson led all Devils with four points (2 goals) in the four games against the Sabres last season while Brian Rolston leads the Devils with 22 points (11 goals) in 44 career matches against the Sabres. Brodeur sports a career 27-14-6 mark with a 2.26 goals-against average against Buffalo. Buffalo forwards Tim Connolly (6 goals, 11 points) and Jochen Hecht (5 goals, 11 points) are the leading point-scorers for the Sabres in 20-plus games against the Devils. Miller has struggled against the Devils -- he's 4-8-3 all-time against New Jersey with a 2.61 GAA.

Puck Drop -- The Sabres are playing their final game of a three-game road trip and Miller owns the second-lowest goals-against average (1.69) in the League of goalies playing seven-or-more games. At the other end, Brodeur has won three straight while allowing three goals and a sported a .968 save percentage. There may not be a lot of goals scored in this one.

--Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com

2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 11 '10BUF 1 at NJD 2J. Langenbrunner
Jan 27 '10NJD 1 at BUF 2 - SOJ. Hecht
Dec 07 '09NJD 3 at BUF 0B. Rolston
Oct 28 '09BUF 4 at NJD 1T. Kennedy
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. MacArthur9527+01400
J. Pominville9347+1420
T. Connolly9257+0220
D. Roy9077+3800
D. Stafford9325+3020
T. Myers9235+8200
T. Vanek7404+4212
P. Gaustad9224+61500
P. Kaleta9224+51300
T. Kennedy9134+3801
M. Ellis8134+5001
C. Rivet9044+2200
C. Butler9044+1200
M. Grier9303+3401
J. Hecht9123+2001
H. Tallinder9033+91200
S. Montador9033+11000
D. Paille2011+1000
T. Lydman4000+1200
A. Sekera3000-1200
N. Paetsch2000+1000
A. Mair1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Miller87-0-1132311.60.944
P. Lalime10-1-04274.07.852
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise106713+5210
T. Zajac105510+5620
D. Clarkson10268+21811
J. Langenbrunner10257+4001
R. Niedermayer10246+2400
N. Bergfors10235+0411
D. Zubrus10145-2201
B. Rolston10224-1210
A. Greene7123+4210
J. Pandolfo9112-1200
B. Salvador10022+31100
P. Martin9022+1000
M. Fraser2101+1000
C. White10011-1200
R. Pelley10011-5600
J. Oduya10000-51600
M. Mottau9000-1900
M. Halischuk6000-2000
I. Pikkarainen6000-4600
P. Letourneau-Leblond5000-3000
A. Peters4000-1900
C. Murphy3000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Brodeur106-4-0262872.57.909