Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Nico Hischier returns with goal in Devils’ win vs. Sabres

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Nico Hischier returns with goal in Devils’ win vs. Sabres

By ALLAN KREDA

NEWARK — Tyler Toffoli scored twice and Vitek Vanecek needed just nine saves as the New Jersey Devils routed the Buffalo Sabres 7-2 on Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Devils erupted for four goals in the first period following Friday’s exasperating 2-1 home loss to Columbus. New Jersey won for first time at home since Oct. 29 and for the second time in eight games overall.

Alexander Holtz, Nico Hischier, Ondrej Palat, Dawson Mercer and Luke Hughes also scored for New Jersey. Jesper Bratt and Dougie Hamilton each had two assists.

The Sabres, who rallied to defeat Pittsburgh 3-2 at home on Friday, lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo scored for the Sabres.

Holtz opened the scoring 1:31 into the contest, beating Sabres goaltender Eric Comrie for his sixth goal of the season and second in two games.

Toffoli made it 2-0 on a delayed penalty against Buffalo at 11:09 with assists to Brendan Smith – who was moved up to forward for the second-straight game – and Mercer.

Hischier, the Devils captain who returned after missing 11 games with an upper-body injury, made it 3-0 at 15:20.

Hischier had last played when the Sabres visited Newark on Oct. 27, when he absorbed a high hit from Sabres defenseman Connor Clifton.

Clifton, who received a two game suspension for the hit, fought Smith late in the first period. Clifton, a New Jersey native, was also met with boos each time he touched the puck.

Palat increased the lead to 4-0 at 18:27 with his second goal of the season.

Devon Levi replaced Comrie in goal for the Sabres to start the second.

Skinner spoiled Vanecek’s shutout bid on the power-play at 1:53 of the second with his 10th goal before Toffoli scored his second of the game about a minute later.

Two Sabres made their NHL debuts.

Isak Rosen, a first-round pick in 2021, was joined by 19-year-old Jiri Kulich, who was selected 28th overall by Buffalo in 2022, for the traditional rookie lap in warmups.

Both forwards were recalled from the AHL ahead of Saturday’s game. They replaced forwards Zemgus Girgensons — week-to-week after sustaining a lower-body injury against Pittsburgh on Friday — and Jordan Greenway who is out due to a personal matter.

Buffalo is also missing high-scoring forward Tage Thompson, who is out for at least a month with a left wrist injury suffered against Boston on Nov. 14. Thompson led the Sabres with 47 goals and 94 points last season.

UP NEXT

Devils: Hosting Islanders on Tuesday.

Sabres: Visiting New York Rangers on Tuesdsay.

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