NEWARK (LGS) — Think back with me to a happier time to be a Buffalo Sabres fan. Entering the Christmas break, the Sabres had won a season-high six straight games, including a pivotal home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers complete with last-second dramatics, late third period goals, and the season's first shootout.
Unfortunately, the Sabres forgot their win streak around the Christmas tree.
Buffalo has failed to capture a single victory since returning to work, changing their fortunes from good to horrible with a now six-game losing streak to match the worst streak in almost two seasons.
Now they must crack through in a tough January as they visit the New Jersey Devils for the second time in 11 days.
The 7 p.m. face-off (MSG-TV, WGR-AM) will be a chance for the Sabres to avenge the disappointing outcome they were force-fed the last time these two teams met.
Buffalo (19-18-3) skated out of Newark with a 2-1 shootout loss, seeing their late third period lead slip away and their offense go into hibernation.
"We're doing things right, but we just can't score goals," defenseman Jaroslav Spacek said following the team's latest loss, a 5-2 defeat in Atlanta Sunday afternoon.
But the game was not the only loss for Buffalo Sunday. Center Derek Roy left the game in the second period with a shoulder injury, and is listed as day-to-day.
Forwards Daniel Paille and Maxim Afinogenov are also out for Buffalo. Paille is suffering after a heavy hit Friday against Ottawa, while Afinogenov suffered a groin strain.
To add insult to injury, defenseman Toni Lydman is a game-time decision for Tuesday as he is suffering from the flu.
One bright spot for the Sabres, despite the troubling losses, is the improving play of Thomas Vanek.
Since being placed on a line with Tim Connolly and Ales Kotalik, the team's highest paid forward has scored a goal and two assists in two games.
Buffalo will need Vanek firing on all cylinders as they will face Martin Brodeur.
The perennial All-Star goaltender was given the night off when the team visited Boston Saturday night, a 4-3 loss.
Kevin Weekes made 21 saves, while the Devils took 45 shots of their own.
The goaltending of Tim Thomas was all that saved the game for Boston.
"Tim played great. Besides that, we played hard," New Jersey's Jamie Langenbrunner said.
The Devils (23-15-3) are 5-2 in their last seven games, including the win against Buffalo Dec. 28.
Next up for the Sabres, they travel to Ottawa for a game Thursday before heading home to host these New Jersey Devils Saturday.