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PREVIEW: Devils at Sabres

Devils get right back at it with a game in Buffalo against the Sabres

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils hit the road to face the Buffalo Sabres on the heels of a home-opening 5-4 setback against Winnipeg. 

You can watch the game on MSG+ and listen on the Devils Hockey Network. 

Video: DEVILS:60 | vs BUF 10.05.19

Read the game preview below. 
 

INSIDE THE DEVILS

UPDATE: Cory Schneider suffered lower body cramping in the 2nd period last night and was unable to return. The athletic training staff was able to effectively manage it and it should not be an issue going forward. Schneider made the trip to Buffalo and is available to play tonight. 

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE DEVILS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

BUFFALO, NY - After a roller coaster season opener, the Devils have an opportunity to rebound right away with a game against the Sabres in Buffalo. 

Blake Coleman talked about the team's breakdown on Friday, letting a 4-0 lead slip away in a 5-4 shootout loss. 

"We've got enough games in the pre-season. There's no excuse. It's a game we should have had. A game that stings. It's our own mistakes and something we can easily correct," Coleman began. "We have another game (tonight) and don't have to dwell on it."

Coleman did his part with two goals, including a goal that is sure to find its way onto any year-end highlight reels despite this only being in the first game of the season. 

"I just try to get pucks to the net however I can and sometimes it's circus-y but I just want to contribute and that's what it's all about," said Coleman.

PLAYING THE RIGHT WAY

A common theme when speaking with Devils players and head coach John Hynes after the game against the Jets was that despite the club racing out to a 4-0 lead, they weren't necessarily playing the right way in order to consistently win. 

That is something the club hopes to change tonight. 

"We weren't playing the way we wanted to throughout the game. Whether the score was 0-0 or 4-0 we had some moments but weren't dictating the play," stated Taylor Hall. "That's what happens sometimes. One goes in, two goes in and you aren't making the plays you want to."

Coach Hynes agreed with Hall and added that he hopes the team gets past it before tonight's contest. 

"When you look at those four key moments of how did those goals occur, it's not a talent issue. It's a maturity issue. It's understanding how you win and how you play with the lead and that's something we knew coming into the year was going to be something that this group is going to have to be able to learn and do and we got taught a lesson.

"You react to it like every other game. Win or lose, there's certain things that you did well and certain things you didn't do well." 

HALL FELT GOOD

One bright spot was the play and health of Taylor Hall, who skated 22:48 of icetime with an assist and six shots on goal. 

"I was a little rusty to start but as the game went on I was feeling better. It's hard to mimick those situations. It's hard to mimick a guy coming at you full speed looking to take your head off sometimes," Hall began.

"Win or lose, tonight was a lot for me to play after not having played for so long. Sometimes you play for so many years and take that stuff for granted. The atmosphere was great and that's the stuff you miss when you're not playing."

FAN ATMOSPHERE

A huge bright spot was the crowd at Prudential Center that was boisterous from beginning to end. The players certainly noticed.

"It was a great atmosphere," said Hall. "Our in-game crew, I think they do a great job getting the fans pumped up. It seemed like everyone had a jersey on and you could tell there's excitement in the building. Last year we didn't even sell out our home opener so that's a great sign."

Jack Hughes doesn't have a lot of experience playing in NHL rinks but he did play in fronnt of some raucous crowds this past May at the IIHF World Championship. 

"The fans were awesome. It was really fun to get out there and play," said Hughes. "Would have been nice to get a win for them but it was an awesome atmosphere there tonight.".

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

PREVIEW

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

TV: 7:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the first of three meetings between the two teams this season. Last year, the Devils took two out of three between the two clubs. 

Travis Zajac led the Devils with four points in three games against the Sabres while Andy Greene, Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood each had three points. 

Devils team scope:

The Devils got off to a great start on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets, racing out to a 4-0 lead before it all caught up with them. 

Blake Coleman had a pair while Nikita Gusev, with his first career NHL marker, and Sami Vatanen scored for the Devils. 

Sabres team scope:

Buffalo opened the season with a game in Pittsburgh, defeating the Penguins 3-1. 

Conor Sheary scored twice in the opener to lead the way for the Sabres. Rasmus Dahlin netted the other. 

By the Numbers:

The Devils are 5-1-0 at KeyBank Center going back to 2015-16 and 9-2-1 overall against the Sabres. ... New Jersey opens the season with two seats of back-to-back games with tonight wrapping up the first of them and another October 9-10 with games against the Flyers and Oilers. 

Jack Hughes skated in his first game on Friday and at 18 years and 143 days old, he didn't quite beat Craig Wolanin who remains the youngest player to participate in a season opening game in Devils franchise history at 18 years and 75 days old in 1985. 

Injury Updates:

Devils - No injuries to report

Sabres - Zach Bogosian (hip) is on IR along with Brandon Montour (hand)

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

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