The New Jersey Devils desperately need a win tonight in Buffalo, but they’ll have to earn it down a number of key players.
Captain Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, John Merrill, Stephen Gionta and Ryane Clowe will all miss tonight’s game with various ailments, per NHL.com. Clowe was the most recent to get hurt, as he exited last night’s win over Florida after a hard second period hit from Quinton Howden.
While Clowe won’t play tonight, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello did say the club expects him to play again this season. The gritty winger had been playing well of late, scoring six points in his last six games — including three against the Panthers, before getting hurt.
As for the big picture stuff, the Devils head into tonight’s game three points back of Columbus for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Jackets do have a game in hand. What’s more, New Jersey has to deal with a Buffalo team that’s played them extremely tight this year — the Sabres took the Devils to OT in the first game (NJ won, 1-0) before beating the Devs 2-1 on Jan. 4.