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game recap

Sabres score seven, defeat Devils in home opener

Oloffson, Reinhart each has two goals; Buffalo goes 3-for-3 on power play

by Heather Engel / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Olofsson scores on the power play

NJD@BUF: Olofsson opens scoring with power-play goal

Victor Olofsson lets go of a wrist shot from the circle that finds the back of the net to open the scoring with a power-play goal

  • 01:07 •

BUFFALO -- Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart each scored two goals for the Buffalo Sabres in their home opener, a 7-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

Jack Eichel had three points (one goal, two assists) and Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist, and Rasmus Dahlin had three assists for the Sabres, who won their first two games of the season for the first time since 2012-13. Carter Hutton made 18 saves.

"We wanted to come out and show the fans what it's going to be like this year and the type of product we want to put on the ice, just get them excited for the season," Eichel said. "I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight. It's all about consistency, and we just want to keep doing it every night and make this place a hard place to come in and try to play."

 

[WATCH: All Devils vs. Sabres highlights]

 

Buffalo went 3-for-3 on the power play after going 1-for-2 in a 3-1 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

"We know that those are huge opportunities in the League the way it is today and how tight these games are," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "Our penalty kill, again, has been outstanding. But more than anything, the way we're moving the puck, the way we're staying in motion. We're not stuck anywhere in one spot, and the way everyone's filling the lanes, we're lethal there right now."

Video: NJD@BUF: Olofsson nets second power-play goal

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey, which lost 5-4 in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets in its season opener Friday. Mackenzie Blackwood allowed seven goals on 36 shots.

"We're playing soft and light, and we're playing like we want to have an easy game," Devils coach John Hynes said. "We can talk about it nine different ways; that's the reality of where we're at right now, so we've got to fix it."

Olofsson scored on the power play from the top of the left face-off circle at 2:56 of the first period to make it 1-0.

Eichel gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead on the power play at 17:26. Blackwood thought he covered the puck coming from behind the net, but Skinner poked it to Eichel in front.

Video: NJD@BUF: Eichel cleans up loose puck for PPG

Palmieri made it 2-1 when he scored from the right circle 37 seconds into the second.

Kyle Okposo got his stick on a Dahlin point shot at 2:49 to make it 3-1.

"We just did a good job of sticking with our game plan," Eichel said. "Nobody panicked on the bench. It wasn't a big deal or anything. I think we just went out and did a really good job of putting pressure on them. We had a few good shifts in their end, we rolled them over, and [Okposo] gets a big goal.

"I think we were able to regain momentum from there and just throughout the game we were able to do that. It's important to do that."

Skinner made it 4-1 at 8:57 when he scored with a high wrist shot off a circle-to-circle pass from Marcus Johansson.

Video: NJD@BUF: Skinner roofs goal from the circle

Olofsson scored his second of the night with a wrist shot from below the right face-off dot on the power play at 13:33 to put the Sabres ahead 5-1.

Zajac made it 5-2 with a quick shot from the left circle 58 seconds into the third period.

Reinhart scored at 3:56 to make it 6-2 and on a breakaway at 16:16 for the 7-2 final.

"Defensively, we haven't been hard enough in any plays, and we're allowing teams too much time and space," Zajac said. "We know what we have to do and what's our identity and what's expected of us as a team, and we just haven't been able to get to our identity."

Video: NJD@BUF: Reinhart buries second goal on breakaway

 

They said it

"A little too much watching, I think, right now and waiting for someone else to maybe do the work. We've got to get a little grittier at both ends of the ice, I think. We're just more reliant on our talent at this point. We're not giving ourselves a chance to use it because we haven't been hard enough (on the puck)." -- Devils forward Travis Zajac

"The pregame ceremony was tremendous. Just a moment that I'll never forget, going out there with some of those guys and being able to stand in the same circle as them was just a tremendous honor and an amazing moment. I think we were all pretty amped up to get the game going." -- Sabres captain Jack Eichel on Buffalo's Golden Season celebration

 

Need to know

Dahlin tied his NHL career high point total set at the Washington Capitals (one goal, two assists) on Dec. 15, 2018. ... Krueger is the fourth coach to win his first two games with the Sabres, joining Marcel Pronovost (Oct. 13-15, 1977), Scotty Bowman (Oct. 11-13, 1979) and Jim Roberts (Dec. 9-12, 1981). … Devils center Nico Hischier's assist on Palmieri's goal was his 100th NHL point.

 

What's next

Devils: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS)

Sabres: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-O, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Video: Olofsson, Reinhart each score twice as Sabres roll

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