Five-goal first period leads Sabres to 7-1 win over Devils

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) It was a day worth celebrating for the Buffalo Sabres.

On the team's 50th birthday as a franchise, the Sabres scored five goals in the first period on their way to a 7-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

It was an offensive explosion that had been a long time in the works, according to coach Ralph Krueger.

''The last six games before this really had been games of good habits, and a lot of the offense that we were starting to create hadn't really functioned that well with goals,'' Krueger said. ''I thought we had a deserved first period, kind of like the fruit of the labor from the week before almost seemed to pay off. We were hot.''

Jack Eichel had one goal and two assists, Johan Larsson had three assists, and Conor Sheary snapped a 19-game goal drought by scoring twice.

''We talked about coming out hard and playing our game and I think we did,'' said forward Rasmus Asplund. ''But I think what we really did good was when we scored a couple goals there, we just stayed with the game plan and kept going. Five in a period, it just shows what character we have.''

Asplund, Jeff Skinner, Victor Olofsson and Henri Jokiharju also scored for Buffalo, which improved to 13-10-5. Linus Ullmark made 44 saves.

The celebratory mood began before the game when the team honored original owners Seymour H. Knox III and brother Northrup R. Knox, now deceased. Members of the Knox family, including Seymour's widow Jean, were honored with golden pucks before the game by current Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Buffalo was awarded an expansion team on Dec. 2, 1969.

Eichel got Buffalo going with his 17th of the season 2:46 into the game. Skinner made it 2-0 two minutes later off a turnover in the Devils end. Larsson forced the turnover, and Skinner buried a wrist shot for his 11th goal.

Sheary ended a 19-game goal drought on a one-timer 6:57 into the first, then added his fifth of the season with 3:19 remaining in the period on a poor effort from Devils goalie Louis Domingue. Domingue got a pad on Sheary's shot, sending the puck high into the air before it eventually fell behind him into the net.

Asplund completed Buffalo's first-period flurry to make it 5-0 with 58 seconds left on his first NHL goal. One day before his 22nd birthday, Asplund scored on a long shot from the bottom of the left circle.

''It's a relief, of course,'' Asplund said. ''I think I've been playing really well the last couple games, I'm creating a lot of chances. I knew it was close and I got it.''

Domingue was pulled for New Jersey after allowing five goals on 15 shots. He was replaced by Mackenzie Blackwood, who made 15 saves.

It was hardly the effort the Devils were looking for with a difficult four-game trip around the corner. Before that, they have a quick turnaround with a home game against Vegas on Tuesday.

''I'm running out of things to say as to why we're playing like that,'' forward Taylor Hall said. ''It's hard. It's a tough pill to swallow and it's everyone in here. It's too bad. We have the players in here to play a lot better than that. We've got to step it up.''

Nico Hischier got New Jersey on the board 8:10 into the second with a power-play goal, scoring from close range.

New Jersey fell to 9-13-4 with the loss.

''First period was not close to being good enough in any area and obviously the scoreboard said it and it's unacceptable,'' Devils coach John Hynes said. ''We've got to figure out particularly, like, tonight what went on in the first period and why we came out like that.''

NOTES: No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes remains out with a lower-body injury and did not travel to Buffalo. This was his second consecutive game missed. He's considered day to day. ... Sabres RW Kyle Okposo returned to practice Monday for the first time since being concussed Nov. 26. Okposo said he expects to return to the lineup during the team's upcoming trip. ... C John Hayden and D Mirco Mueller were scratched for New Jersey. ... LW Evan Rodrigues, C Curtis Lazar and C Jean-Sebastien Dea were scratched for Buffalo.

UP NEXT:

Devils: Return home to play the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Sabres: Begin a three-game West Coast road trip in Calgary on Thursday.

---

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

123T
NJ9-13-4
0101
BUF13-10-5
5207
STARS OF THE GAME
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
J. Boqvist LW00020/0013:582
J. Bratt RW00-250/0014:280
W. Butcher D00-130/0021:240
B. Coleman LW00-211/2210:393
A. Greene D00-400/0018:481
N. Gusev LW01-130/0014:180
T. Hall LW00-341/0016:570
N. Hischier C10036/6016:523
K. Palmieri RW00030/1215:452
K. Rooney C00-113/6014:371
D. Severson D00-320/0019:220
W. Simmonds RW00-153/4019:060
P. Subban D00-130/0219:201
M. Tennyson D00010/0017:164
S. Vatanen D01-350/0020:103
M. Wood LW00-120/0015:480
P. Zacha C00-416/4014:100
T. Zajac C00-216/6012:082
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
R. Asplund C10114/4014:231
Z. Bogosian D00210/0018:570
J. Eichel C12359/5016:180
Z. Girgensons LW00011/1412:191
M. Johansson C000110/9019:581
H. Jokiharju D10220/0216:420
J. Larsson C03224/7014:340
J. McCabe D01100/0018:300
C. Miller D00220/0215:350
C. Mittelstadt C01111/0016:300
B. Montour D01210/0214:250
V. Olofsson LW11210/0014:120
S. Reinhart RW00110/0015:340
R. Ristolainen D01210/0017:163
M. Scandella D00110/0017:211
C. Sheary RW20320/0014:091
J. Skinner LW11370/0013:461
J. Vesey LW00120/0019:520
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
M. Blackwood 1721539:52
L. Domingue (L)1551020:00
GOALIESSA
M. Blackwood 17
L. Domingue (L)15
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
L. Ullmark (W)4514460:00
GOALIESSA
L. Ullmark (W)45
Wayne Simmonds shot on goal (Wrist shot)
NJ:GoalsShots
BUF:GoalsShots
Full Play By Play
GOALS
    • 2ND PERIOD
      • BUF
        12:08(PP) GOAL Henri Jokiharju (Slap shot), Assists: Victor Olofsson and Jack Eichel
      • NJ
        08:10(PP) GOAL Nico Hischier (Wrist shot), Assists: Sami Vatanen and Nikita Gusev
      • BUF
        04:40GOAL Victor Olofsson (Slap shot), Assists: Brandon Montour and Jack Eichel
    • 1ST PERIOD
      • BUF
        19:02GOAL Rasmus Asplund (Snap shot), Assist: Casey Mittelstadt
      • BUF
        16:41GOAL Conor Sheary (Snap shot), Assists: Johan Larsson and Jake McCabe
      • BUF
        06:57GOAL Conor Sheary (Wrist shot), Assists: Jeff Skinner and Johan Larsson
      • BUF
        04:59GOAL Jeff Skinner (Wrist shot), Assist: Johan Larsson
      • BUF
        02:46GOAL Jack Eichel (Wrist shot), Assist: Rasmus Ristolainen
    PENALTIES
    • 3RD PERIOD
      • BUF
        17:01Henri Jokiharju penalty Hooking - 2 min.
      • BUF
        06:14Brandon Montour penalty Tripping - 2 min.
    • 2ND PERIOD
      • NJ
        11:06Kyle Palmieri penalty Tripping - 2 min.
      • BUF
        06:31Zemgus Girgensons penalty Tripping - 2 min.
      • NJ
        03:22P.K. Subban penalty Roughing - 2 min.
      • BUF
        03:22Colin Miller penalty Roughing - 2 min.
    • 1ST PERIOD
      • BUF
        12:02Zemgus Girgensons penalty Slashing - 2 min.
      • NJ
        44.0Blake Coleman penalty Tripping - 2 min.
    TEAM STATS
    NJ
    BUF
    Shots on Goal4532
    Goals in Power Play11
    Faceoff Wins2629
    Penalties35
    Major Penalties00
    Minor Penalties00
    Misconducts00
    TEAM STATS
    NJ
    Shots on Goal45
    Goals in Power Play1
    Faceoff Wins26
    Penalties3
    Major Penalties0
    Minor Penalties0
    Misconducts0
    123T
    NJ9-13-4
    0101
    BUF13-10-5
    5207
    STARS OF THE GAME
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    J. Boqvist LW00020/0013:582
    J. Bratt RW00-250/0014:280
    W. Butcher D00-130/0021:240
    B. Coleman LW00-211/2210:393
    A. Greene D00-400/0018:481
    N. Gusev LW01-130/0014:180
    T. Hall LW00-341/0016:570
    N. Hischier C10036/6016:523
    K. Palmieri RW00030/1215:452
    K. Rooney C00-113/6014:371
    D. Severson D00-320/0019:220
    W. Simmonds RW00-153/4019:060
    P. Subban D00-130/0219:201
    M. Tennyson D00010/0017:164
    S. Vatanen D01-350/0020:103
    M. Wood LW00-120/0015:480
    P. Zacha C00-416/4014:100
    T. Zajac C00-216/6012:082
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    R. Asplund C10114/4014:231
    Z. Bogosian D00210/0018:570
    J. Eichel C12359/5016:180
    Z. Girgensons LW00011/1412:191
    M. Johansson C000110/9019:581
    H. Jokiharju D10220/0216:420
    J. Larsson C03224/7014:340
    J. McCabe D01100/0018:300
    C. Miller D00220/0215:350
    C. Mittelstadt C01111/0016:300
    B. Montour D01210/0214:250
    V. Olofsson LW11210/0014:120
    S. Reinhart RW00110/0015:340
    R. Ristolainen D01210/0017:163
    M. Scandella D00110/0017:211
    C. Sheary RW20320/0014:091
    J. Skinner LW11370/0013:461
    J. Vesey LW00120/0019:520
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    M. Blackwood 1721539:52
    L. Domingue (L)1551020:00
    GOALIESSA
    M. Blackwood 17
    L. Domingue (L)15
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    L. Ullmark (W)4514460:00
    GOALIESSA
    L. Ullmark (W)45
    STARS OF THE GAME
    123T
    NJ9-13-4
    0101
    BUF13-10-5
    5207
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    J. Boqvist LW00020/0013:582
    J. Bratt RW00-250/0014:280
    W. Butcher D00-130/0021:240
    B. Coleman LW00-211/2210:393
    A. Greene D00-400/0018:481
    N. Gusev LW01-130/0014:180
    T. Hall LW00-341/0016:570
    N. Hischier C10036/6016:523
    K. Palmieri RW00030/1215:452
    K. Rooney C00-113/6014:371
    D. Severson D00-320/0019:220
    W. Simmonds RW00-153/4019:060
    P. Subban D00-130/0219:201
    M. Tennyson D00010/0017:164
    S. Vatanen D01-350/0020:103
    M. Wood LW00-120/0015:480
    P. Zacha C00-416/4014:100
    T. Zajac C00-216/6012:082
    Total1204526/296-22
    SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
    R. Asplund C10114/4014:231
    Z. Bogosian D00210/0018:570
    J. Eichel C12359/5016:180
    Z. Girgensons LW00011/1412:191
    M. Johansson C000110/9019:581
    H. Jokiharju D10220/0216:420
    J. Larsson C03224/7014:340
    J. McCabe D01100/0018:300
    C. Miller D00220/0215:350
    C. Mittelstadt C01111/0016:300
    B. Montour D01210/0214:250
    V. Olofsson LW11210/0014:120
    S. Reinhart RW00110/0015:340
    R. Ristolainen D01210/0017:163
    M. Scandella D00110/0017:211
    C. Sheary RW20320/0014:091
    J. Skinner LW11370/0013:461
    J. Vesey LW00120/0019:520
    Total71103229/2610-9
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    M. Blackwood 1721539:52
    L. Domingue (L)1551020:00
    GOALIESSA
    M. Blackwood 17
    L. Domingue (L)15
    GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
    L. Ullmark (W)4514460:00
    GOALIESSA
    L. Ullmark (W)45
    GOALS
      • 2ND PERIOD
      • 1ST PERIOD
      PENALTIES
      • 3RD PERIOD
      • 2ND PERIOD
      • 1ST PERIOD
      • 3RD PERIOD
      • 2ND PERIOD
      • 1ST PERIOD

      123T
      NJ9-13-4
      0101
      BUF13-10-5
      5207
      All times are US/Eastern.