The Islanders wrapped-up a three-game road trip with a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday evening. The Isles never trailed as Devon Toews and Mathew Barzal scored power-play goals in the second period and Anders Lee iced the game with an empty-net goal. Thomas Greiss made 32 saves.
The Sabers open up a three-game road trip on Long Island on Saturday. Buffalo enters the matchup on a three-game winning streak, most recently coming off of a 4-3 win over Nashville on Thursday. The Sabres rallied from a 2-1 deficit as Jack Eichel scored twice, and Jimmy Vesey and Victor Olofsson also scored. Linus Ullmark turned aside 36 shots.
- Toews scored his third goal of the season and first on the power play. The sophomore blueliner has 13 points (3G, 10A) through 30 games this season.
- Barzal scored his 13th goal of the season and third on the power play. Barzal leads the Isles in goals, assists (14) and points (27) through 30 games. The 22-year-old center has points in six of his last seven games with seven points (4G, 3A) in that span.
- Lee recorded his first-ever Gordie Howe Hat Trick in the NHL on Thursday. Lee assisted on Toews' goal, fought Brian Boyle and potted the insurance goal on Florida's empty net with three seconds left in the game. Through 30 games this season, the Isles captain has 18 points (9G, 9A).
- Jordan Eberle had two helpers on Thursday, marking Eberle's third multipoint game of the season. The winger has 11 points (2G, 9A) through 20 games this season.
- Greiss backstopped the Isles to their 21st win of the season and improved his record to 11-4-0. Greiss a has a 2.16 goals against average and a .932 save percentage.
- Greiss has split the pipes with Semyon Varlamov this season. The Islanders are first team since the Sharks in 2006-07 to alternate starting goalies for each of the first 30 games of the season. Varlamov has a record of 10-3-2, a 2.26 GAA and a .926 SV%.
- The Isles power play went 2-for-4 against the Panthers. In the NHL, the Isles power play unit is ranked 11th overall at 20.8%. The Isles are 10-1-0 when they score at least one power-play goal and are 11-6-2 when they don't light the lamp with the extra skater.
- Nick Leddy missed his second-straight game as he is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. In his place, rookie defenseman Noah Dobson suited up for his ninth game this season. The 19-year-old logged 11:24 time on ice, including 1:44 time on the power play and had one hit.
- The Islanders 2.33 goals against average is the second lowest in the NHL behind the Dallas Stars at 2.31.
- Eichel scored his 21st and 22nd goals of the season and recorded his second-straight two-goal game. The Sabres' captain is atop the team leaderboard in goals, assists (24) and points (46) through 33 games. Eichel is riding an impressive 15-game point streak that dates back to Nov. 16 with 27 points (14G, 13A) during that span. Eichel's 46 points are tied for fourth-best in the NHL with Boston's David Pastrnak. Eichel is second in the NHL in goals behind Pastrnak and eighth in the NHL for assists.
- Olofsson scored the game-winner and 13th goal of the season on Thursday. Through 33 games this season Olofsson leads NHL rookies with his 29 points. The winger has points in five of his last six games with nine points (3G, 6A) in that span.
- Vesey opened up scoring for the Sabres as he potted his fourth goal of the season. Through 30 games with his new club, the 26-year-old winger has 10 points (4G, 6A). Vesey is riding a three-game point streak with three points (1G, 2A) during that span.
- Sam Reinhart posted two assists in the win over Nashville. Reinhart has four points (1G, 3A) in his last two games and points in four of his last five games with seven points (3G, 4A) during that span. Through 33 games this season, Reinhart has 27 points (12G, 15A).
- Ullmark recorded his 10th win of the season to improve his record to 10-6-2. Ullmark has a 2.84 GAA and a .916 SV%.
- Casey Mittelstadt was healthy scratched against Nashville. Mittelstadt has nine points (4G, 5A) through 31 games this season. The center has only found the back of the net once throughout the past 22 games.
- Rasmus Dahlin returned to the lineup on Thursday for the first time since Nov. 25. The sophomore blueliner missed eight games with a concussion he received against Tampa. Dahlin recorded an assist in his return, logged 15:20 time on ice including 1:28 time on the power play, and had one block and one hit. Through 25 games this season, Dahlin has 17 points (1G, 16A).
The Islanders and Sabres last met on Nov. 2 at KeyBank Arena where the Isles shutout the Sabres 1-0. The Islanders were in the midst of their 17-game point streak and the win was the Isles ninth-straight at the time. Derick Brassard scored the sole goal of the game in the first period. Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves.
The Isles have won four straight home games from Buffalo and are 6-2-0 in their last eight games overall vs. the Sabres.