BUFFALO – Backup goalie Chad Johnson, who relieved Robin Lehner for the final 31 minutes of Saturday’s 6-3 road loss to the New York Islanders, will start this afternoon’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils.
“We looked at the schedule, we wanted to get him a game early, right away,” Housley said. “The plan was not to have Robin pulled so early in the second period. We felt Chad had a good outing.”
Johnson stopped 15 out of 16 shots Saturday in his first action this season. He has terrific numbers – 2-2 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage – in four career games against New Jersey.
Expect the Devils, who have first overall pick Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall up front, to play fast. This squad looks nothing like the Devils teams of the past.
“They sort of changed in the direction where old New Jersey Devils used to clog it up and be tough to play against and it was a pretty boring game,” said Housley, who played 22 games with the Devils at the end of 1995-96. “I watched their last game. They’re pretty dynamic. They got a lot more speed and skill up front.”
The Sabres will use the same 18 skaters today, meaning winger Jordan Nolan, a waiver claim late in training camp, will sit again.
A lower-body injury will sideline former Sabres winger Drew Stafford, who signed a one-year deal with New Jersey in August.