The New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres played a truly back-and-forth game on Friday. The teams traded the lead a few times and never allowed the other to gain a massive advantage over them. Some of New Jersey’s offensive output on Friday came from an unlikely source: veteran forward Erik Haula.
Haula certainly isn’t a slouch on the ice. He did score 29 goals for the Vegas Golden Knights during their magical inaugural season in 2017-18. But the 32-year-old is not known as a goal scorer. That didn’t stop him from scoring twice against the Sabres on Friday. He almost had a hat trick in this game, too. Unfortunately, luck just wasn’t on his side.
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After the game, Haula spoke to the media. His stick-break came up in conversation, and the veteran shared his reaction. “It’s a little sad. I don’t have a hat trick, so I don’t how much closer to that I’m going to get,” the Devils forward said, via ESPN. ”But it would have been worse if they tied that up.”
Haula scored his first goal on the penalty kill in the second period. It gave the Devils a 3-2 lead at the time, but New Jersey wouldn’t hold onto the lead for long. Rasmus Dahlin scored for the Sabres a few minutes later to tie the game again.
In the third period, the game was 4-4 with a little under six minutes left. Kevin Bahl took a shot from the point, and Haula’s net-front presence put him in the right spot to tip the puck home. It gave the Devils a 5-4 lead that they would hold on to until the final horn.
New Jersey has won three of their last four games after a shaky two-game stretch. The Devils are in action on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild as they look to keep the momentum going.