UNIONDALE, N.Y. --
The New York Islanders
have an opportunity to get back to the .500 mark as they host the Buffalo Sabres
tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Isles (21-22-7) pulled within a game of .500 Friday night when Mark Eaton
ended a 120-game goalless drought in overtime to lift New York to a 2-1 victory at Ottawa. The Islanders -- who haven't been a .500 club since Nov. 5 -- enter tonight's action nine points behind Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We're a confident bunch right now," said Isles winger PA Parenteau
, who had two more assists Friday night to give him 36 on the season. "We play with a lot of passion and we know what's at stake in the next two weeks. Nothing's impossible for us. … A lot of guys are playing well. It's only nine points and there's a lot of games left."
Buffalo (21-24-6) is also 2-0-1 in its last three games and has allowed only two goals over that span. The Sabres couldn't solve Henrik Lundqvist
in a 1-0 shootout loss to the New York Rangers
at the First Niagara Center on Wednesday night. The Sabres have been somewhat fortunate to earn points in three of their last four games considering they've only scored five goals.
"I know it'll come … we still have to score," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff
said. "I don't want to talk about chances any more. You've got to create them to get them. The more you create, the better chance you're going to have. The less you give up, the easier it is for your goaltender. I think we've played harder in some situations, which has made a difference."
Here are the expected lines tonight for each club:
- Derek Roy
- Jason Pominville
- Tyler Ennis
- Drew Stafford
- Brad Boyes
- Patrick Kaleta
- Luke Adam
- Cody McCormick
- Tyler Myers
- Jordan Leopold
- Mike Weber
gets the start in goal. The Sabres' netminder has stopped 83 of 85 shots over the last three games while boasting a 0.63 goals-against average. Jhonas Enroth
will be the backup.
Buffalo will be without sniper Thomas Vanek
, who suffered an upper-body injury during Tuesday's 3-1 win at Montreal. Ennis and Stafford are both expected to play after battling the flu. Jochen Hecht
and T.J. Brennan are out with concussions. Zach Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani
are expected to be healthy scratches.
- John Tavares
- Kyle Okposo
- Frans Nielsen
- PA Parenteau
- Josh Bailey
- Matt Martin
- Jay Pandolfo
- Nino Niederreiter
- Steve Staios
- Travis Hamonic
- Milan Jurcina
The Islanders did not skate this morning after arriving home late from Ottawa. With the quick turnaround, it's likely Al Montoya
will start in goal. Evgeni Nabokov
made 23 saves in Friday's victory.
(lower body), Mike Mottau
(concussion) and Marty Reasoner
(hand) are out for New York. Dylan Reese
and Brian Rolston
are the likely healthy scratches.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL