Tue. May 28th, 2024

The Buffalo Sabres played the New Jersey Devils Friday night on the road and suffered a 5-4 loss. While both teams showed strong offenses, in the end, the Devils were able to score one more goal than the Sabres. 

Sabres coach Don Granato, who tends to be more positive than negative, noted the tough grind of an 82-game season. He also praised Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who had to step into the crease after Eric Comrie left the game with a lower-body injury. Luukkonen, a second-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2017, just couldn’t pull out the win against a strong Devils team.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In this edition of Sabres News & Rumors, I’ll take a look at some of the game action as well as repercussions from events that occurred during the game.

Item One: Goalie Eric Comrie Injured in Friday’s Game

With Devon Levi sidelined with a lower-body injury, Eric Comrie got the start last night against the Devils. It was his third start of the season, and he had performed quite well in his two previous starts. He entered the game with a 1-1-0 record, a 2.05 goals-against average (GAA), and a .923 save percentage (SV%). 

Related: Sabres’ Alex Tuch and JJ Peterka Need to Produce More

However, after stopping 16 of 18 shots in the game, Comrie suffered a lower-body injury and was forced to leave. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stepped in as his replacement. 

Item Two: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen Takes the Loss in Net

Unfortunately, after Luukkonen entered the game in relief of Comrie, he couldn’t stop the bleeding. While he stopped 18 of 21 shots, he took the loss. Luukkonen has now appeared in two games in a row and has allowed a total of seven goals on 59 shots.

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Currently, the Sabres’ goalie situation is iffy. Both Comrie and Levi are dealing with lower-body injuries. That makes it likely that Luukkonen will see significant time in the Sabres’ crease. He has a challenging game coming up against a tough Colorado Avalanche team on Sunday. Fortunately, it’s on home ice. The Sabres have to hope that makes a difference in their fortunes.

Item Three: Connor Clifton Scheduled for Hearing After Match Penalty

Buffalo’s Connor Clifton is set to have a hearing on Saturday for an illegal check to the head on New Jersey’s Nico Hischier. The incident occurred when Clifton made contact with Hischier using his left shoulder. At the time, the hit resulted in a match penalty. Hischier briefly left the game but later returned in the following period. 

Related: Sabres’ Samuelsson the Glue to Defense

Clifton, who played under five minutes before the incident, is scheduled for a hearing today to address his check. If a suspension is imposed, fans should expect Jacob Bryson to take Clifton’s place in the lineup. Clifton, who signed this offseason with the Sabres after five seasons with the Boston Bruins, has recorded only one point in eight games this season. Bryson hasn’t played yet for the Sabres this season.

Item Four: Sabres Friday Night Goal Scorers 

In the Sabres’ 5-4 loss to the Devils, four players scored goals.

John-Jason (JJ) Peterka got the Sabres’ first goal of the game in the first period. The goal broke his three-game scoring drought. Despite his struggles for consistency playing on the team’s third line, Peterka has three goals in eight games this season.

JJ Peterka, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Ben Green/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tage Thompson put the Sabres ahead 2-1 with his own goal in the first period. It was his third goal in the last two games. Thus far on the season, Thompson has scored four goals and added an assist in eight games.

After falling behind, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin tied the game at 3-3 in the second period. The goal extended his point streak to seven games. The physical Dahlin now has eight points in eight games, along with 17 hits, 17 blocked shots, and six penalty minutes.

Related: Buffalo Sabres 5 Best-Case Scenarios for 2023-24

Finally, Dylan Cozens’ goal tied the game at 4-4 in the third period. He’s been on a hot streak and has registered points in six straight games. He now has totaled seven points this season.

Item Five: Seven Sabres Players Recorded Assists 

Seven Sabres players recorded assists during the loss to the Devils. Owen Power and Henri Jokiharju assisted on Peterka’s first-period tally. Then, also in the first period, both Alex Tuch and Jordan Greenway had helpers on Thompson’s goal.

Alex Tuch, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the second period, Mattias Samuelsson and Jeff Skinner together set up Dahlin’s goal. Finally, Kyle Okposo assisted on Cozens’ third-period goal. Jokiharju has been especially productive recently. He’s put up four assists in the last two games. 

What’s Next for the Sabres?

The Sabres meet a tough Avalanche team on Sunday. The Avalanche currently sit first in the NHL’s Central Division with a record of 6-1-0, placing them among the favorites for the Stanley Cup in 2024.

Related: Sabres’ 2022-23 Review: Looking Back to See What’s Ahead 

On Thursday, the Avalanche lost their first game of the season to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-0. They’ll be looking to redeem themselves from that loss. 

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The post Sabres News & Rumors: Comrie, Luukkonen, Clifton & Dahlin appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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