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Tracking the Sabres: Devon Levi

April 7, 2023, 1:59 AM ET [1095 Comments]
Hank Balling
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
This article is the latest installment in the semi-regular “Tracking the Sabres” series in which we focus on one Sabre in a given game and track his performance on a shift-by-shift basis.

Tonight’s focus is 21-year-old rookie goaltender Devon Levi as he and the Sabres battled the Red Wings in Detroit Thursday night.

1.) Lucas Raymond fires a shot from the high slot and Levi makes a casual, jumping blocker save.

2.) Levi mishandles a dump-in and it nearly leads to a scoring chance against. You have to admire the confidence with which Levi is willing to handle the puck but this is the second game in a row during which Levi has mishandled the puck. Experience will help in that department.

3.) The Red Wings dump it in, and Levi decides not to play the puck after the last adventure.

4.) Levi makes a “save” on a quasi-shot by Edmundson.

5.) Tage Thompson fires a ripper past Ville Husso for his 45th goal of the year after Tuch misses on a penalty shot (this is non-Levi content btw).

6.) Levi plays the puck again and it didn’t go well again: he gave the puck away to the Wings. This isn’t meant to be a recurrent complaint; it’s just that Levi hasn’t had much to do other than play the puck behind the net. The Sabres have been dominant.

7.) Levi settles puck down behind the net for Dahlin on the powerplay following a Detroit dump-in. This is very exciting.

8.) Levi plays the puck to Jokiharju behind the net. Things are really heating up for Levi.

9.) Auston Czarnik’s shot from the low slot deflects off Alex Tuch’s stick, and it beats Levi high on the blocker side. Levi had little chance on the deflected shot – it effectively went bar-down above the blocker following the unintended redirection. Levi may have been a touch too far back in his net in that scenario.

10.) Dylan Larkin is stopped by Levi on a low shot.

11.) Levi denies Czarnik on a low-pad shot from the blocker side of the net. JJ Peterka takes a hooking penalty in the defensive zone. Tut tut, John-Jason.

12.) Another tipped puck leads to the second Detroit goal. Larkin is credited with the goal that beat Levi five-hole, but in reality it was a double tip as Ilya Lyubushkin also got a piece of it after Larkin en route to the back of the net.

13.) Larkin tried to set up another deflection. Didn’t work.

14.) Jeff Skinner is an international treasure (this is non-Levi content btw). Elite smack talk.

15.) Levi handles a dump-in during the 4-minute powerplay.

16.) Nice play to end the period as Levi comes a solid 15 feet out of his net to deny Pius Suter on a partial break with fewer than 5 seconds on the clock. That’s perfect situational awareness from Levi who knew there was no chance for a rebound which motivated his decision to aggressively take away the angle by leaving his net. Dare I say it was Hasek-esque commitment to aggressively playing the shooter?

17.) Marty Biron – during the intermission – said that Levi needs better reads. Who am I to argue with Marty? Still, both goals seemed out of his control.

18.) Levi denies Copp on a shorthanded attempt as he gets a piece of the glove on Copp’s shot.

19.) Huge blocker save on a point-blank chance from Kubalik in the blue paint leads to a Zemgus Girgensons goal.

20.) Levi reads a cross-ice pass perfectly and denies #8 on a one-timer that was headed glove side.

21.) Seider fires high and wide.

22.) Larkin is denied on another tip opportunity (tipurtunity?) Sabres lead 4-2. Levi looks in control.

23.) Light period for Levi halfway through. Czarnik has had a really good game for the Wings. The 30-year-old journeyman has been very noticeable.

24.) Beautiful anticipation by Levi as he shuts down a 2-on-1 shot from the Wings’ Alex Chiasson who tried to go high blocker.

25.) Detroit ices it and Levi raises his glove hand in acknowledgement as it passes the red line – INCREDIBLE STUFF .

26.) Okposo takes a penalty. Perron gets denied by Levi in the first chance. Levi seems to have a literal jump to his game which offsets his limited 6’0” frame. He does not default to the butterfly – he plays a modified stance and often stays on two feet rather than fall to two knees.

27.) Berggren knocks the mask off Levi with a high, rising shot. Levi comes up laughing and chatting to the referee.

28.) Levi was hesitant to play the puck behind the net again. He was too aggressive playing the puck early on and perhaps too passive later. Craig Anderson should be able to advise the kid how to pick his spots.

29.) Raymond rips one off the post on the powerplay.

30.) Chiasson buries a cross-ice powerplay goal for Detroit. Larkin with a beauty of a no-look backhand pass. Again, not much of a chance for Levi.

31.) Owen Power scores for the Red Wings on a beautiful deflection that went off his thigh. Tie game. 4-4.

32.) Levi denies Kubalik twice to end the period, including a flashy glove save to keep the score knotted before the end of the second.

33.) Second period thoughts: Levi is best when he’s proactive and challenging shooters. He gets in trouble when he falls too far back in his net; that’s when his lack of size bites him. I’ve yet to see him get beat because of his aggressiveness.

34.) Dinner break. Wegman’s frozen section is terrific

35.) I ate 90% of this “dinner for two.” Get real. I’m a hungry boy, Wegman’s.

36.) My sportsurge stream has gone wacky and now time is moving back and forth between the present and past. Dylan Cozens has scored and now I’m being teleported back to the second period. Have I lost my mind or did that Wegman’s prepared meal contain psilocybin? There is no way to know. It is either 6-4 in the third or 4-4 in the second. Both are true.

37.) Devon Levi makes an incredible, athletic save on Pius Suter as he gets a piece of it and then Levi tracks the loose puck back to the goal line before sweeping away it away with his paddle. That’s the Devon Levi we all know and love.

38.) Oh good God, that was an absolutely brutal giveaway by Lyubushkin and a terrible job handling a pass by Jost which led to another goal from Berggren. Again, no chance for Levi.

39.) Zap, the Siamese cat, is trying to lick the remnants of my pasta bowl. Save me, Levi.

40.) Nice pad save on a wraparound attempt.

41.) Knuckle puck change up corralled by Levi. Faceoff to his left.

42.) The lines are in a blender - Granato has Thompson playing with Greenway and Cozens.It seems to be working. Levi gloves another pop fly from center field. 4 minutes left.

43.) Skinner tries to draw a penalty. Refs aren't biting. Icing Sabres with 2 minutes left.

44.) Girgensons comes up with a clutch block with a minute left.

45.) David Perron beats Levi top cheese to even the score at 6. That's probably one you'd like Levi to have. You'd probably also like someone better at faceoffs than Casey Mittelstadt to take that key draw. Entertaining game.

46.) Levi avoids knocking the puck in his own net after yet another unfortunate deflection off his own teammate - Samuelsson in this case.

47.) We're going to ooooooooooooooooovertime.

48.) Tage Thompson was interfered with. No penalty.

49.) Not a lot of action for Levi in OT. Best chance against occurred at the end of the period and Mittelstadt's backcheck hustle negated it for the most part. To the shootout we go.

50.) Thompson missed five hole

51.) Raymond comes in wide to the right, dekes Levi left and then tucks it back short side.

52.) Quinn wires one high glove side on Husso.

53.) Levi gets a piece of Perron's shot on the blocker side.

54.) Tuch puts it through Husso five hole.

55.) Levi shuts the door on Larkin and that's the game. Not a pretty one for Levi but he gets the W in the shootout.
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