NEWARK, N.J. -- Greetings from Pasaaic, which is about where the press box here is in the Prudential Center. As in, high-high-high. So I'll be giving you reports from the blimp from the Sabres-Devils game. Just kidding (sort of).
First order of business: Lindy Ruff just said in his pregame interview with WGR Radio that Craig Rivet aggravated his shoulder last night with that hit in the third period against Ottawa and will be replaced tonight by Mike Weber, who will be making his first appearance of the season. Rivet's injury is not considered serious and he's day to day.
Here's another warmup bulletin: Ilya Kovalchuk is not on the ice for the Devils. Alexander Vasuynov is on the ice, just up from Albany of the AHL. No word on Kovy's absence. No Martin Brodeur and no Kovalchuk? No excuse for Buffalo. (No excuse for the quality of the wireless in this press box too but I'll keep working on that.)
8:47 p.m: Game on.
19:10 left: Let's see if the Devils try to make some statements in this period. Big scrum here results in a roughing penalty on Gaustad.
17:00 left: Penalty killed. But Gaustad goes back in for cross-checking Clarkson, who throw a right cross in retaliation that didn't get noted.
10:07 left: Still 5-0. Devils have all seven shots in the period. Sabres effectively killing the clock.
8:35 left: There goes Miller's shutout as Zach Parise pots a rebound behind Myers to make it 5-1.
8:09 left: Vanek answers right back with his second of the night to make it 6-1. Brutal giveaway by Matthew Corrente to Vanek and Tallinder couldn't stop him from getting his own rebound.
1:00 left: Nothing to report. Still 6-1. We're heading to the locker room.
Of note: Here's why I hate NHL stats: The Devils were charged with five giveaways in the first period and Buffalo with one. Butler and Myers made three on the first shift and didn't get charged for them. ... The Devils won 10 of 14 faceoffs in the first period. Niedermayer got the second assist on the Myers goal and, like Grier, that was his first point of the season.
7:56 p.m.: We're under way.
19:34 left: Huge early momentum right off the bat chance by Zubrus, who's stopped by Miller in alone from the doorstep.
16:50 left: Two-point nights for Grier and Niedermayer. Grier with the steal along the left boards, Niedermayer with the pass in front and Ennis with the tap-in for his 2nd of the season. 3-0 Sabres.
12:23 left: Ennis will learn with experience to not overhandle the puck. Right now, he's the current-day version of Maxim Afinogenov. Great skill but too much dipsy-doo. Don't want any turnovers cycling back to give New Jersey any momentum. The Devils are as dead as this crowd.
11:43 left: The rout is on as Kaleta gets his first of the year, pounding home the rebound of a Leopold flip shot to make it 4-0, Sabres. And that's it for Hedberg. The crowd roars as Brodeur's night off ends. Four goals on 13 shots for your backup won't get the job done and Hedberg disappears down the tunnel.
8:03 left: Zubrus goes for high sticking Roy -- and gets four minutes.
7:00 left: Ennis off the post above a sprawling Brodeur.
4:00 left: The Sabres don't score but it's hard to gripe about the PP. Lots of possession time and some good chances. The best was actually when a puck hopped over Stafford's stick when he had an open net to stuff home a rebound. Shots are 18-12 for Buffalo (10-3 in this period).
3:32 left: Miller stops Clarkson on a 3-on-1 and grabs the puck as it leaks under his arm before anyone else can get it.
3:19 left: Zajac for holding in the offensive zone sends Buffalo back to another power play.
1:58 left: The power play converts as Roy feeds Vanek for a tap-in. The play was made by Gerbe in the corner as he sped past Tallinder and outfought him for the puck. Tyler Myers doesn't miss Tallinder the way the ex-Sabres is playing tonight. Vanek's second. Gerbe's first point of the season. 5-0 Sabres.
End-2nd: The Devils leave to a richly deserved booing. It's 5-0 and the Sabres had a 14-4 edge in shots in that period. It's 22-13 for the game. Hard to figure this team out.
16:13 left: Our first whistle. It was a disastrous start for Myers and Butler, who gave the puck away at least three times on an opening shift of 50 seconds that never saw the puck leave the Buffalo zone. Miller made two good saves and then made another one at the 17-minute mark on David Clarkson, who went right around Weber and streaked down the wing for a clear shot.
14:30 left: A Devils PR official just walked through the press box telling people that Ilya Kovalchuk is a "healthy scratch". What in the world does that mean? Did he take John MacLean's name in vain? Did he show up late to the arena? No idea. He did skate this morning. Gonna be a lot more to that story.
13:03 left: The Sabres take a 1-0 lead as Hedberg gives up a brutal goal to Stafford on a routine snap shot from the right circle. Unscreened, right between the legs. Stafford's third. 1-0 Sabres on Buffalo's first shot on goal after Devils had five.
12:02 left: Hedberg stops Gerbe from in front and it's pretty funny to see old friend Henrik Tallinder with a clothesline around the neck of Gaustad in the ensuing scrum.
11:25 left: Rod Pelley off for the Devils after taking Jason Arnott shot in the mush.
9:43 left: Sabres to the power play as Dainius Zubrus goes for pulling down Leopold in the corner in the Buffalo end. The defense pairs tonight are Butler-Myers, Leopold-Montador and Weber-Sekera. No changes up front as the Sabres are rolling Vanek-Roy-Stafford, McCormick-Connolly-Hecht, Ennis-Niedermayer-Grier and Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta.
4:00 left: A sedate period in front of a sedate crowd. Looks like 10-12,000 range. Shots are 9-4 for the Devils.
3:27 left: Myers blasts home his second of the year from the right circle after a beautiful diagonal pass in the zone from Grier, who gets his first point of the season. Sabres lead, 2-0.
3;10 left: McCormick goes for holding and challenges Colin White, even drops his gloves. White skates away. Devils to the power play.
1:13 left: Hedberg gets a piece of a Niedermayer backhand and the puck just dribbles wide. Watching a Devils game here is like a Sabres game in HSBC: Home team skating in mud, crowd quiet as a library and fans booing regularly. Devils are 0-3-1 at home, just like Sabres entered last night.
End-1st: Sabres lead, 2-0. Devils have a 9-8 edge in shots. Crowd boos them off the ice, a sound the Sabres have heard a lot of this year. At them in HSBC and music to their ears on the road.
Pregame musings: Kovalchuk offcially scratched. ... Buffalo starters on defense are Myers and Butler so it looks like the pairs might get shuffled with the Rivet injury. Butler has been very good since cracking the lineup. ... I was thinking three games in four nights might mean Patrick Lalime in goal. But Ryan Miller didn't have hard nights in Atlanta or last night against Ottawa. And, of course, the Sabres need a win. ... People have been clamoring for Weber and he had a terrific year last season in Portland. He wasn't that impressive in preseason. Need to see more decisiveness with the puck.
Cheap plug alert: Be sure to follow my coverage on the Inside Pitch blog from the World Series starting Tuesday, either in San Francisco or Philadelphia (and I'll thus be at the Sabres-Flyers game if the Phillies can come back). Bookmark the blog!!! Across the ballpark from Rangers Ballpark is Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Looks like I'll have plenty of time on Halloween to get a ticket for the game against Jacksonville. Noon Central start with World Series Game Four not until 7:20 Central and press conferences thus not starting till 4ish.