DEVILS VS. PENGUINS
Day two of the Buffalo Sabres’ Prospect Challenge got off to a chippy start as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Saturday at the Harborcenter.
At least five times or six times between the second and third periods, each squad got into a scrum (plus one fight occurred between Brandon Hawkins and Nicholas Canade) with the other over physical play, but neither side let the physical play completely dominate the outcome. Each roster had multiple players who stood out with their skill and let that do the talking instead.
The Devils took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Graeme Clarke but a pair of tallies by Jan Drozg and Anthony Angello proved to be the difference in the contest. Alex D’Orio made 36 saves to notch the win for the Penguins.
SABRES VS. BRUINS
Matej Pekar sure knows how to make an impact on a hockey game.
An admitted fan of Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, the Sabres’ 2018 fourth-round draft pick showed off both of Marchand’s best attributes during Saturday night’s outing against the Bruins – an ability to score goals and feistiness.
Pekar scored a pair of goals in the Sabres’ 4-3 win over their divisional rival on Saturday and also goaded the opposition into taking multiple penalties while also taking a few himself.
Clearly Pekar has learned how to get under other people’s skins. And he relishes it.
“I think it’s the best feeling ever to be honest,” Pekar said. “I think it’s great when I go on the ice and those guys are giving me looks and saying something to my face. I’m like, alright I’m in their head and I can focus on my game now, so I don’t have to worry about that.”
“Pekar really sparks our guys on the bench with his grit and he’s physical, but he also gives us some offense as well,” Amerks coach Chris Taylor said. “In front of the net he causes a lot of disturbance. He gets right in front of the goalie and gets everybody bothered by him, and he gets our fans going too.”
Buffalo opened the scoring with a tally by Rasmus Asplund and held the lead for a period and a half until Oskar Steen tied the game at one apiece midway through the second. Then within a five-minute stretch the Sabres lit the lamp three straight times to build a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, as Victor Olofsson and Pekar each found the back of the net.
Steen notched his second goal of the game midway through the third period and Samuel Asselin got on the board with about four minutes to go, but the Sabres held on for dear life the rest of the way.
Jonas Johansson recorded 35 saves while in net for Buffalo.