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Bratt, Johansson help Devils defeat Sabres

Each gets two goals, assist in New Jersey's second straight win to start season

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Newcomers Jesper Bratt and Marcus Johansson are quickly making an impact with the New Jersey Devils.

The forwards each had two goals and an assist to help the Devils to a 6-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Monday.

Bratt, a rookie selected by New Jersey in the sixth round (No. 162) of the 2016 NHL Draft, and Johansson, acquired in a trade from the Washington Capitals on July 2, combined for all four Devils goals in the second period.

 

WATCH: All Devils vs. Sabres highlights

 

After Sabres forward Evander Kane scored the first of his two goals at 5:02 of the second period past Cory Schneider to get Buffalo within 2-1, Bratt made it 3-1 21 seconds later with a shorthanded goal. Bratt and Adam Henrique had a 2-on-1 break against Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. Henrique passed to Bratt, who scored on a backhand past Chad Johnson.

"I think we had a great game," said Bratt, 19, who has five points (three goals, two assists) in his first two NHL games. "All the goals were good goals and we were in the dirty places around the net and were very strong in front of the net. It was a good game for us and it was nice to score a couple goals."

It was the fourth shorthanded goal allowed by the Sabres in the first three games.

"I just think our effort was unacceptable," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "This game is a game of mistakes and it just seems we're making key mistakes at times in the game that are ending up in our net."

Johansson made it 4-1 at 7:49 when he received a drop pass from Taylor Hall after Hall stripped the puck from Beaulieu.

Video: NJD@BUF: Hall steals puck, Johansson pots backhand

Hall set up Bratt for his second goal at 12:19 to make it 5-1. Bratt cut to the net from the slot, where Hall found him with a slap pass and Bratt tipped the puck past Johnson for his third goal of the season. Bratt set up Johansson for his second goal on a 2-on-1 against Beaulieu at 18:56 that made it 6-1.

The three points were Johansson's first with the Devils; he went scoreless in a 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

"I guess we're just both Swedes," Johansson said of himself and Bratt. "A lot of Swedes see the game the same way and think it the same way and grew up playing the same type of game. He's a really good hockey player already. He's so young, he just got over here, and it's fun to watch."

Kane's second goal and fourth of the season made it 6-2 at 17:03 of the third.

Brian Gibbons had a goal and an assist for New Jersey (2-0-0) in the first period. His pass to Stefan Noesen went off Noesen's face and past Johnson at 6:28. Nico Hischier, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, got his first NHL point when he set up Gibbons to make it 2-0 at 18:56.

Video: NJD@BUF: Noesen takes puck off helmet to open scoring

"It was important for us to continue to play the same way," Devils coach John Hynes said. "And that's something we've talked about. Sometimes we're going to be down too, but we have to be a hard team to play against."

Johnson made 16 saves in two periods for Buffalo (0-2-1) and was replaced by Robin Lehner in the third. Lehner made nine saves. Schneider made 23.

 

Goal of the game

On Bratt's second goal, Hall was able to get the puck to Bratt easily by making it seem as if he was going to shoot, before passing all in the same motion.

Video: NJD@BUF: Bratt deflects home perfect feed from Hall

 

Save of the game

With the Devils up 3-1 with 12:40 left in the second period, Schneider held his ground and stopped Matt Moulson in the slot on a one-timer.

Video: NJD@BUF: Schneider stones Moulson's close-range shot

 

Highlight of the game

Hischier did his best to keep away from Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella along the end boards, and changed direction before he passed to Gibbons in front for the Devils' second goal. "That's more of what Nico does," Hynes said. "He's very good with the puck."

 

They said it

"It's only two games but it's encouraging that the whole training camp, all preseason, it's led into this. These haven't been fluky games, these last two games. They've been the result of the identity we're trying to create and I think the people we've brought in here to help execute our vision. I think everyone's buying in and playing well." -- Devils goalie Cory Schneider 

 

"All three games, I think I've been invisible. I haven't been creating; I haven't been playing tough defensively. I'm just out there skating around, and it's not good enough." -- Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly, who has one assist

 

Need to know

Devils forwards Drew Stafford and Kyle Palmieri each missed the game with a lower-body injury. Hynes said each is day to day. New Jersey used seven defensemen because of the injuries.

 

What's next

Devils: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, MSG, NHL.TV)

Sabres: At the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Video: Johansson, Bratt lead Devils' offense in 6-2 win

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