Devils and Sabres Battle to Bitter Tie|
By Ray Van Horn, Jr. Copyright 1999
A sub-par attendence at Continental Arena witnessed the New Jersey Devils cough up a late-game score to the Buffalo Sabres, resulting in a frustrating 1-1 tie.
The teams skated around aimlessly for the opening period on a grimy looking ice surface, although the Devils tested Dominic Hasek early, triggering 10 shots on him. The Sabres only managed four shots in the scoreless first period.
The Devils went up 1-0 at 2:57 in the second, as newcomer Sergei Nemchinov (acquired from the Islanders) poked the puck past The Dominator after Hasek had deflected Nemchinov's initial shot. Sergei Brylin picked up his 8th assist as he guided the rebound back to his new teammate. After a period and a half of slow play, the teams finally picked up the tempo, making spirited charges at one another.
Sharp passing and aggressive zone penetration made it seem as if the Devils were on their way to victory, until Buffalo's Miroslav Satan flipped a nifty backhanded shot past Martin Brodeur at 16:23 in the third period, sending the game into overtime. It was Satan's 34th on the year, and his 5th in his last 3 games. Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was given the assist. Grand-Pierre would further complicate matters for New Jersey as he bloodied Denis Pederson's ear in a lopsided fight.
A scare came for the Sabres in overtime as Dominic Hasek's head was crunched between two teammates and the Devils' Brendan Morrison. Hasek resumed the final 46 seconds, letting Rob Niedermeyer slip one past him a second after the buzzer, as the game was officially marked a stalemate.
The Dominator was his usual brick-like self, facing down 32 shots, while New Jersey's Martin Brodeur made 19 saves.
The two teams gave a preview of a likely showdown in the Eastern Conference playoffs, as they showcased new members like Nemchinov for the Devils, and Joe Juneau (formerly of the Washington Capitals) for the Sabres. Juneau raved about his trade, claiming, "this is a good chance to be on a good playoff team."
Copyright©1999 The HockeyNut