The Buffalo Sabres have received a two-goal performance from a player in each of their first two games this season but have yet to land in the win column. Buffalo looks to finally earn two points when it hosts the New Jersey Devils on Monday afternoon.
Jason Pominville scored both goals in his return to the Sabres on Thursday, when the club opened the campaign with a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, while Evander Kane netted a pair of short-handed tallies in a 6-3 road setback against the New York Islanders two days later. The 26-year-old Kane recorded a total of two short-handers in 172 games over his previous three seasons. New Jersey is coming off a season-opening 4-1 home victory over Colorado on Saturday that saw Jesper Bratt and defenseman Will Butcher combine for a goal and four assists in their first NHL contest. Kyle Palmieri set up a pair of tallies but exited the win with a lower-body injury and is questionable to face Buffalo.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, MSG (New Jersey, Buffalo)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (1-0-0): In addition to Palmieri, Drew Stafford went down in the opener with a lower-body injury and missed Sunday’s practice. The 31-year-old Stafford, who is in his first season with New Jersey, reached the 20-goal plateau three times while spending the first 8 1/2 campaigns of his career with the Sabres. Butcher notched three assists in Saturday’s win, becoming the first player in franchise history to record three points in his NHL debut.
ABOUT THE SABRES (0-1-1): Jack Eichel is the only member of the team other than Pominville and Kane to score a goal thus far this season and has notched two assists to put him one point behind Kane for the club lead. Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart, who combined for 36 goals and 92 points last season, have yet to land on the scoresheet in 2017-18. Defenseman Zach Bogosian is unlikely to make his season debut Monday as he continues to recover from the lower-body injury he suffered during the preseason.
1. Kane is two games shy of 500 for his career.
2. New Jersey RW Jimmy Hayes, who made the team after attending training camp on a tryout basis, scored the game-winning goal on Saturday while 18-year-old C Nico Hischier, who was drafted first overall in June, registered six shots in 15 minutes, 44 seconds of ice time.
3. Buffalo has allowed a league-high three short-handed goals this season.
PREDICTION: Devils 4, Sabres 1