The Devils looked horrible tonight in all possible ways. The score could have been worse than 4-1, as the Devils never got it going tonight at home. They are now 1-4 at 'The Rock'. Some observations from the loss:
-I don't think the Devils were awake when the puck dropped. Buffalo, from the get-go, poured shots on Brodeur, as the Devils struggled to even touch the puck at the beginning of this game. The two goals the Sabres scored in the first five minutes doesn't begin to show how badly the Devils opened this game.
-You could 'tell' that Paul Martin was missing. The Devils defense looked awful in this contest, allowing the Sabres many great opportunities and odd man rushes early, and throughout. Mark Frazer looked pretty bad defensively, a game after his first NHL goal, and the rest of the defense wasn't much better.
-Johnny Oduya is going to have to play ten times better than he did tonight. Arguably the best active defenseman for New Jersey, Oduya is going to be relied on to make some big plays and give Marty some breathing room. He looked putrid tonight.
-Zach Parise may have been the only forward who impressed me out of the twelve. He often was relied on to move the puck from end to end, and set up the Devils best chance in the first period singlehandedly. He did not receive enough support from his line-mates tonight to have many scoring chances.
-Poor Travis Zajac. Without the ZZ Pop line, too much reliance is put on Zajac for the second line to succeed. Except for some of the second period, in which the ZZ Pop line was out there, Zajac was paired with Halischuk and Clarkson, who did not provide him any help.
-The Devils lone goal came on the powerplay. About midway through, the first unit came onto the ice, and after a few shots, an Andy Greene wrister found the back of the net. Nice shot by Andy, as it sailed over the glove of Ryan Miller, and into the net.
-Speaking of Miller, he was fantastic tonight. The Sabres goaltender outplayed Marty and had a great game. A very deserving win for him, as the Sabres lead the NHL in (least) goals allowed per game. It showed again tonight, as Buffalo is now 7-1-1.
-The Devils will look to rebound tomorrow night in Boston, and taking on the Bruins will be no easy task. Remember though, that one of last season's best wins was on the road in Boston when Scott Clemmensen and the Devils blew a 2-0 lead in the third, but Patrik Elias tied it with under 2 to go and Jamie Langenbrunner won it early in OT. The Devs will be looking for similar magic Thursday night.