NEWARK, N.J. -- I could start off with a joke -- something like, Newark, we make Detroit look nice -- but that would be too cliche. Since I don't deal with cliches, I'll leave the Newark-bashing to Conan O'Brien in the clip below.
One thing New Jersey does have is goaltender Martin Brodeur, and he will be in net for the Devils for the 10th time in 10 games. Ryan Miller will be across the ice for the eighth time in nine games for Buffalo.
Miller is likely to get more games off starting this week as the Sabres' schedule picks up some. Starting tonight, they have five straight weeks of three games in four nights. All the games are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday straight past Thanksgiving. Not overly taxing for the squad, but a boost from a lazy opening four weeks of the season.
More in about an hour when the puck drops.
6:13 p.m.: OK, so I'm back early. Wanted to remind folks that tonight's road game is on television in HD. The voices will be the usual (Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale) but the feed will be from the Devils' MSG station. The opening segment will be from the Devils, as will the intermission shows. But I hear they will have a neutral flavor.
Now I'm really leaving for about 45 minutes.
7:08 p.m.: Game on. Tyler Myers is among the starting five -- and it probably won't be for the last time.
7:10 p.m.: And it's 1-0 Buffalo just 1:21 in, stunning the crowd of about, oh, 3,000 or so. Craig Rivet's point shot is knocked down in front, and Clarke MacArthur steps around Brodeur for his fifth goal.
7:15 p.m.: The line of Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Drew Stafford squanders an odd-man rush for more than the first time this season with no real shot taken with 4:30 gone.
7:17 p.m.: Mark it down -- Oct. 28, 2009, the date of Tim Kennedy's first NHL goal. The South Buffalo native gets the puck behind the goal line, gets to the faceoff circle and blindly fires a low shot that gets by Brodeur. It's 2-0 Buffalo with six minutes gone.
7:24 p.m.: The Devils have had a pair of odd-man rushes in the past minute, but Jamie Langenbrunner tips the first wide and Miller gobbles up the second with 9:21 left. It's still 2-0. And there's more than 3,000 people here now, but it's not above 10,000.
Commercial timeout, giving me time to wish a happy 85th birthday to one of my favorite readers, Joan Johnston. Get well, and glad to hear you're doing better!
7:29 p.m.: Big hit by Colin White and Rob Niedermayer on Kennedy after offside whistle, leading to a scrum and roughing penalties on Steve Montador and David Clarkson.
7:36 p.m.: Nice "Grease" routine by the Devils Dancers, who alas do not have a photo page on the Devils' Web site.
7:38 p.m: Sabres have a 14-5 shot advantage with two minutes to go.
7:40 p.m.: The only noise from Devils fans so far has been three or four derisive chants about the rival Rangers. Sabres have taken the few who took the trek to lovely downtown Newark out of the game.
7:42 p.m.: End of first, it's 2-0 Sabres, who finish with 14-7 shot advantage.
7:59 p.m.: And we're off...
8:03 p.m.: First power play of game goes to Devils with 2:56 gone. Paul Gaustad whistled for hooking.
8:05 p.m.: Devils cut their deficit to 2-1 with power-play goal. Langenbrunner feeds pinching defenseman Andy Greene for a goal with 15:43 to go.
8:09 p.m.: New Jersey had definitely gained momentum, but good shift by Matt Ellis-Paul Gaustad-Patrick Kaleta hems the Devils in their zone and evens the ice level with 11:15 left.
8:14 p.m.: As the fans give their applause to some brave men from the National Guard's 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New Jersey's Ilkka Pikkarainen (wow, that's not easy) heads to the box for hooking with 9:59 to go.
8:28 p.m.: Sabres, still holding a 2-1 lead with 2:23 left, go back on the power play with Johnny Oduya holding call.
8:33 p.m.: Sabres enter intermission with a 2-1 lead and 20-15 shot edge. Best play of the man advantage was a defensive effort by Jason Pominville, whose stick shattered on a point shot. With no time to go to the bench, the right winger sped back and stuck out his right skate to block a pass that would have sent Travis Zajac in alone on Miller.
8:50 p.m.: Final period under way.
8:54 p.m.: Big hitting shift, with Gaustad and Ellis on the rough side of things.
9 p.m.: Miller keeping the Sabres ahead as the Devils' shot deficit, once 14-5, has closed to 22-20. Boos go out as they show Chase Utley's homer that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead over the Yankees up the 95 North.
9:04 p.m.: Gaustad gives the Sabres breathing room, scoring with 10:35 to go after the shots had tied at 22-all. Ellis threw the puck to Gaustad in front, and he paused before slipping it past Brodeur.
9:09 p.m.: Pominville to the box for running Brodeur with 8:59 to go. The Devils are 1 for 1 with the man advantage.
9:12 p.m.: Just as Pominville exits, Gaustad enters for high-sticking Zach Parise. Dainius Zubrus nearly cut the Sabres' lead to one by hitting the post.
9:15 p.m.: Too many men call on New Jersey cuts off power play with 5:23 to go. Sabres in position to win third straight, all on the road.
9:21 p.m.: Turn out the lights. Pominville scores on the power play with 2:39 to go. It's 4-1, and the Sabres will improve to 7-1-1 and 4-0 away from HSBC Arena. They return home Friday to host the Maple Leafs.
Kennedy: "It’s a real special feeling. I’d been working real hard the last eight games trying to get one, and to get the first one on a goalie like that, it’s something that I’ll always remember."
Lindy Ruff on Ellis: "I thought he was the first star of the game. Work ethic and what he did, they couldn’t take the puck away from him. That was a tremendous goal. At that time of the game, that was a big goal for us."
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire: "You could tell why they're on top and have such a great record. They have four good lines, and they all play the same way. They are a puck-control team, and they create plays. There's no doubt we faced a better team."