NEWARK, N.J. – Evan Rodrigues and Sam Reinhart have chosen to be diplomatic in the wake of another heartbreaking defeat that has prolonged the historic collapse of the Buffalo Sabers.
Neither gave their opinion on a controversial call. Phil Housley did not mince his words, though.
The Sabers coach was irritated by the fact that Reinhart's goal in the third period on Monday night was canceled because the officials had determined by a video that Rodrigues had interfered with New Jersey Devils goalkeeper Cory Schneider .
Despite having shot 46 times, the Sabers gave a goal to the empty net while remaining 1:25 of regularity and leaned in front of the Devils, 3-1, at Prudential Center. Housley players played with the kind of urgency they missed during their short playoff spurt.
The Sabers created traffic ahead of Schneider and made 28 more attempts. They also limited the Devils to 21 shots. Still, Buffalo (31-35-9) lost for the 16th time in 19 games and has lost 10 of his last 11 games.
"I just thought we played well for 60 minutes," Housley said. "We had opportunities, we had opportunities, we just did not find the next goal, and it's unfortunate that they got that power play in the third period here, and I do not know what's going on." did not agree with the call to the scrambling of the goalkeeper.We must continue to play this game We will achieve results if we continue to tighten it. "
Before the Sabers hit a puck during training Sunday at the Prudential Center, their coaches showed players traffic sequences ahead of Carter Hutton over Montreal goaltender Carey Price in a 7-4 loss Saturday night.
The difference was remarkable. Housley insisted on coming to the net against the Devils (29-39-9), while improving puck management. After all, the Sabers 5-on-5 game has deteriorated since their run of 10 consecutive wins in November because of turnovers.
His players responded with their first 40 shots since Feb. 1 and the fewest shots since their 5-1 win against the Devils at KeyBank Center on Jan. 8. Ullmark made quick stops, especially in the second second of the Flash Devils.
A number of Sabers also played well. An addition to the training with injured Zach Bogosian, Lawrence Pilut had three shots on goal and was notable with the puck. Rasmus Dahlin had five shots on goal, Jeff Skinner had a six-goal high and Jack Eichel had a good third period.
However, Schneider stopped 45 shots, including all 22 that he faced in the third period. It appeared that he had let the goal equalize while it remained 13:36 to settle when Reinhart buried a rebound after Skinner's shot in the back of the net. Devils coach John Hynes was challenged to intervene for the goalkeeper, and after almost five minutes, officials felt that Rodrigues had prevented Schneider from making a rescue.
Housley, on the other hand, thought Devils defenseman Travis Greene was at fault on his return to Rodrigues.
"I totally disagree with the call," Housley continued. "I think he's got his territory in front of the goalkeeper, we tell our guys to go in front of the net, he's doing the right thing, a guy is joining him, they've seen him." differently, but I did not agree with that. "
Following the decision, Skinner almost equalized the score with a breakaway on the left side of the ice, but his shot was stopped and his second chance went over the net. Schneider stopped Alex Nylander and Tage Thompson, as well as Skinner's talented player in the final moments of the match.
In the end, the Sabers' only goal was to score at 7:23 early in the first period, when Reinhart threw a puck behind the red line in the center of the ice. 1. The Devils lost 10 of their previous 12 games and were beaten 12-2 in a three-game series last week.
"It's not a good feeling," Rodrigues said. "There is no other way to say it, we did it right, we played well, we did not give them much, we put pucks on the goal. did everything we wanted except put the puck in the goal and it seems like it's going on these days. "
Although the Devils scored just 10 shots on goal in the last 40 minutes, they scored a double on the power play before Miles Wood added an empty goal. Meanwhile, the Sabers could not capitalize on their three power play opportunities.
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead at 1:55 of the start of the match, when Marco Scandella failed to clear a loose puck, and he was recovered in the right corner by Blake Coleman, who was able to skate to the front of the net and score because Scandella was out of position.
After an impressive second period Sabers, New Jersey scored at 4:30 of the third period, preventing Ullmark to see the shot of Pavel Zacha because of Wood's screen in front of the net.
"We let a guy out of the corner and we put the puck directly on our stick," Housley said. "These things happen fast after the facts, but that shot on the side – I think Linus has been leaning in the wrong direction, instead of leaning on the other side."
The Sabers hold the third worst record of the NHL on the road and rank 12th in the Eastern Conference after being officially eliminated from the playoffs with Saturday's loss in Montreal. Their next stop is Ottawa, where they play for the second consecutive night on Tuesday, with only seven games left in another season without playoffs.
All they can do is hope that such an effort can help them plan for the future.
"I think if we play like that and we start getting more results, we will not do anything from the point of view of ranking, but internally, in the room, it will lead to next year," he said. explained Reinhart. "This is where we are and that's what we're focusing on now for the next seven."