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Sabres aiming to get in win column vs. Devils
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After what appeared to be a promising start under new coach Phil Housley, the Buffalo Sabres already have their backs against the wall.
That's what a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night -- where the Sabres allowed two short-handed goals -- will do.
The Sabres (0-1-1) will look to get back on track in a matinee game at home against the New Jersey Devils (3 p.m. ET) on Monday.
"You play a lot of games in this league," Sabres center Jack Eichel said, according to the team's website. "You've got to learn from something like this, but as quickly as you learn from it you've got to put it behind you because New Jersey's a good team and we're going to have our hands full at home. It's a must-win game right now."
The Sabres were expected to have some growing pains after finishing near the bottom of the league in each of the past four seasons. Buffalo is working on an up-tempo approach on offense while breaking in three new defenders (Victor Antipin, Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella) on the back end.
"It's getting back to the little details. That's what killed us yesterday," Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly said, according to the team's website. "Just little things, not relaxing at certain times of the game. I thought we had a good, intense practice with everyone just going. Competing, moving our feet, having good sticks, being physical, going to the right spots. It's something we've got to carry over into tomorrow."
One bright spot from the loss to the Islanders was a two-goal performance from Evander Kane, who is looking to pick up where he left off last season. Kane was one of Buffalo's few bright spots in 2016-17 with 28 goals in 70 games.
The Devils (1-0-0) got off to a good start in their season opener on Saturday, a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Rookie defenseman Will Butcher became the first player in Devils franchise history to record three points in his NHL debut with three assists.
New Jersey is expecting big things from Butcher, last year's Hobey Baker winner.
"During the recruiting process with him we had a need for a guy who can make those decisions and be able to run a power play," said Devils coach John Hynes, according to the team's website. "He has gotten better and better in his decision-making and the way he uses time and space in playing at this level. It was nice to see him have the night he had in his first NHL game."
Goalie Cory Schneider made 40 saves for in the win for New Jersey, which got goals from Adam Henrique, Jimmy Hayes, Jesper Bratt and John Moore.
The Devils, like the Sabres, are hoping for improvement after making some big changes in their lineup this offseason. New Jersey added forwards Marcus Johansson and Drew Stafford and have first overall pick Nico Hischier looking to make an impact.
Updated October 8, 2017