C.J. Smith always dreamed about scoring his first NHL goal.
But he never pictured it quite like this, the puck dribbling in slow motion past New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid, it momentarily coming to rest just inside the far post, a question rippling through the arena as to whether defenseman Sami Vatanen had dug it out with his stick before it crossed the goal line. Smith had no doubt.
“When I shot it and went behind the net there, cheap nhl jerseys from china
I saw it was in,” Smith said. “It’s kind of funny, nobody else really knew it was in, so I kind of celebrated by myself there. But it felt good.”
The shot, called a goal on the ice and upheld on review, gave the Buffalo Sabres a 2-1 lead 4:14 into the second period and helped spark an explosive and unanswered five-goal middle stanza, as the Sabres buried the Devils in an avalanche of secondary scoring, 5-1, Tuesday night at KeyBank Center, no small feat without injured captain Jack Eichel.
Buffalo has been preaching about the importance of secondary scoring since its 10-game win streak ended in late November. The Sabres have since mustered a 6-8-4 record while hanging on to playoff positioning. The Sabres scored five goals on 15 shots in the second period against the Devils. Jeff Skinner’s blast to put Buffalo on the board was followed by goals from Smith, Casey Mittelstadt, Jake McCabe and Lawrence Pilut, Smith’s roommate in Rochester who also recorded his first NHL goal Tuesday night.