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GAME PREVIEW: Buffalo at Islanders

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:00 pm; FSN 2, Bloomberg 1130 AM

The Islanders will look to avenge their season opening loss when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

Miroslav Satan will face his old team for the second time. He was held goal-less in Buffalo on Oct. 5 and Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, in a refreshing bit of candor, told reporters after the game, œI really didn't want Miro to score against us. Since the Islander's 5-1 loss in Philadelphia on Oct. 16, Satan has arguably been the Islander's best player.

Petteri Nokelainen will likely return to the lineup after sitting out the Ranger game with an ankle injury. Other than that, the status of the lineup is likely to be unclear until game time.

Forward Mark Parrish (hip strain) is day-to-day.
Defenseman Brent Sopel (left wrist sprain) is day-to-day.

Total Man-Games Lost (After 9 games): 13

October 14 - The Islanders recalled goaltender Wade Dubielewicz from Bridgeport.
October 17 - The Islanders reassigned goaltender Wade Dubielewicz to Bridgeport.

The Islanders begin a three-game homestand tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.  The Islanders continue the homestand on Tuesday against Boston and Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  They are 3-1 at home this season.  Following the homestand, the Islanders will not play consecutive home games until late-November when they host the Sabres on Wednesday, November 23 (7 p.m. start) and the Ottawa Senators on Friday, Nov. 25 (2 pm start).

Goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped Atlanta's Patrik Stefan on a penalty shot early in the second period on Tuesday. The penalty shot was the first attempted against the Islanders this season and the 19th in team history. Stefan was awarded a penalty shot at 4:16 of the second period when he was hauled down by Janne Niinimaa on a breakaway. The penalty shot was the third attempted against DiPietro and the previous two attempts by Michel Nylander (12/21/02) and Erik Cole (4/2/04) were unsuccessful.

The Islanders play 11 games during October this season, five at home and six on the road.  The Islanders will play their 11th and final game this month tonight against the Sabres.  So far this month, the Islanders are 5-5-0-0. Last season, the Islanders were 4-3-2-0 during October.

The Islanders are 3-1-0 at home this season, scoring 13 goals and allowing 12. The Islanders opened up the home portion of their schedule with a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on October 8, but dropped a 3-1 decision to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 10. The Islanders have won their last two home games, winning 5-4 over the N.Y. Rangers on October 20 and 4-3 over the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday at the Nassau Coliseum.

The New York Rangers held high-scoring center Alexei Yashin pointless for the first time since the second game of the season (October 8 vs. Carolina). Yashin, who leads the team in scoring with 12 points (6+6), recorded 11 points (5+6) in seven games from October 10-25.  Prior to Thursday's game, he collected five points (3+2) in two games and recorded multiple-points three of the previous four games. In addition to his seven-game point streak, Yashin recorded an assist in five consecutive games (October 15-25). The point streak was Yashin's longest since the 2003-04, when he had a nine-game point streak with 13 points (3+10) from November 14-December 3.

Along with Alexei Yashin, Miroslav Satan and Alexei Zhitnik were held scoreless on Thursdy by the New York Rangers.  Prior to Thursday's game, Zhitnik had a five-game point streak and assist streak with 0-8-8 totals from October 15-25.  He recorded two assists in three consecutive games from October 20-25. In 10 games, he has recorded 10 points (1+9) and 16 penalty minutes.  Zhitnik leads the team in assists and is second on the team in scoring. Satan had his four-game goal streak and five-game point streak end against the Rangers. He scored five goals from October 19-25 and a had five-game point streak with  5-1-6 totals from October 19-25. In 10 games this season, Satan has recorded seven goals and two assists.  He leads the team in goals, power play goals (4) and is third on the team in scoring.

The Islanders had a record of 25-11-4-1 at home during the 2003-04 season. The Islanders ranked first in the East and third in the NHL in home wins. The 25 wins and 55 points at home were the most in 19 years (1985-86 season).  During the 2003-04 campaign, the Islanders had a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3-0) in February marked the longest streak since the 1989-90 season.

The Islanders are 2-4-0 on the road this season, scoring 17 goals and allowing 22. The Islanders will play seven of their next 11 games on the road.  In 2003-04, the Islanders had a 13-18-7-3 record on the road.

The Islanders are unbeaten in 56 games (48-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5 when leading after two periods. The Islanders outscored their opponent, 87-61 in the third period in 2003-04. The streak began on December 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.

The Islanders are 4-1 this season when scoring first and 1-4 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. Buffalo, Carolina, Philadelphia, Montreal and the N.Y. Rangers have scored first in games against the Islanders this season, while New York has scored first against Carolina, Washington, the Rangers (twice) and Atlanta. In 2003-04, the Islanders had a record 11-23-6-3 when their opponents scored first. They were 27-6-5-1 when they scored the first goal of the game.

The Islanders were 0 for 11 on the power play on Thursday against the Rangers. The Islanders have scored a power play goal in eight of 10 games this season.  Overall, the Islanders are 12x76 (15.8%) on the power play. In 2003-04, the Islanders recorded at least one power play goal in 38 of 82 games. They had a record of 27-9-3, including a mark of 16-4-1at home in games that they scored at least one power play goal.

The Islanders killed off five of the Ranger's six power play chances on Thursday. Overall, the Islanders have killed off 69 of 83 (83.1%) power play attempts in 10 games this season. The Islanders are ranked 16th in the league in penalty kill. The Islanders have recorded three shorthanded goals this season.  Arron Asham scored a shorthanded goal in the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Rangers on October 20. Earlier in the season, Shawn Bates scored the first short-handed goal of the season in the Isles' 3-1 win over the Hurricanes on October 8 and Jason Blake scored a short handed tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on October 13.

The Islanders have been outshot, 347-287, through the first 10 games of the 2005-06 season.  The Islanders have been outshot in eight of the 10 games, including the last six this season.  The Islanders are allowing an average of 34.7 shots per game.  They have a record of 4-4 when they have been outshot and have a record of 1-1 in games when they have outshot the opponent. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game twice during the season, and have a record of 1-1.

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