After a four-game road trip, the New York Islanders return home to face the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night at Nassau Coliseum.
This is a game that was originally scheduled for Feb. 2, before Buffalo had to postpone games due to COVID-19 protocols.
This is the third Islanders-Sabres meeting in eight days, as the teams played a back-to-back on Feb. 15-16 in Western New York. The Islanders won both meetings, beating Buffalo 3-1 and 2-0, respectively. Ilya Sorokin recorded his first-NHL win and shutout in the 2-0 win over the Sabres.
The Islanders have won five-straight games against Buffalo.
- UPDATE: Semyon Varlamov will start in goal for the Islanders. Michael Dal Colle will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot on Tuesday vs Buffalo. Head Coach Barry Trotz said to expect a lineup similar to Saturday in Pittsburgh.
- Monday's affair kicks off a four-game homestand for the Islanders, who play eight of their next nine games at the Coliseum. Including Monday, the Islanders will play their next 12 games in the Tri-State Area.
- The return home is a welcome one for the Islanders, who are coming off a 2-2-0 road trip and have played 12 of their first 17 games on the road. Given the strict COVID-19 protocols that limit player interaction on the road, being around family will be a welcome relief after spending a majority of the week in a hotel room. The Islanders are 4-0-1 at home this season.
- The Islanders are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Penguins on Saturday night. The regulation loss was a frustrating result for the Islanders, who outshot the Penguins 35-18, outhit them 53-30 and had a lead in the third period.
Barry Trotz was succinct when summing up the loss. "Life's not fair sometimes," the coach said. "But if you stick to the process you'll get those results."
- Jordan Eberle scored his seventh goal of the season on Saturday night, tying Anders Lee for the team lead.
- Despite allowing two third period goals, the Islanders have allowed a league-low nine goals in the final frame.
- Brock Nelson has goals in three of his past four games. On Saturday night he scored his first even-strength goal of the season. Nelson has five goals and three assists on the year.
- The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, snapping a four-game losing streak that dated back to Jan. 31, due to Buffalo's two-week COVID hiatus.
Sam Reinhart scored two goals in the win, while Linus Ullmark made 25 saves. Reinhart has four points (2G, 2A) in his last four games and is currently riding a two-game point streak (2G, 1A).
- The Sabres netted their first five-on-five goal since returning from their two-week hiatus in Saturday's affair. Colin Miller's icebreaker was also Buffalo's first lead since returning from a COVID-mandated break.
- Defenseman Jake McCabe left the game during the third period and returned to Buffalo for an MRI. The defenseman will not play on Monday and neither will Rasmus Ristolainen, who is still recovering from COVID-19. McCabe has three points (1G, 2A) in 13 games this season and is second on the team with 15 blocked shots.
- William Borgen is a potential replacement for McCabe, but the defenseman missed Sunday's skate with an upper-body injury.
- Jack Eichel is also riding a two-game assist streak (2A). Eichel leads the Sabres with 13 points (2G, 11A) this season.
- Dylan Cozens returned to the Sabres lineup on Saturday, his first game since being removed from the COVID-related absence list on Wednesday. The rookie played on a line with Taylor Hall and Eric Staal.
- The Sabres power play has scored at least one goal in eight of its past nine games after netting a power-play goal on Saturday. The lone game the Sabres didn't score a power-play goal was their 2-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. It should be noted that Victor Olofsson seemingly scored a power-play goal, but the would-be tally was challenged and overturned due to an offside zone entry.