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Morning Skate Updates 3/15/14

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

The Islanders and Sabres meet tonight for the first time since October. Both rosters have changed dramatically from the early-season meeting, as the Islanders are now carrying nine rookies and the Sabres only have 10 players from opening night. The biggest change for the Sabres comes in goal, as Ryan Miller was dealt to the St. Louis Blues after 11 seasons in Buffalo.

Ahead of tonight’s game, the Islanders held an optional morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. Here are some news, notes and quotes from today’s skate.

Lineup Notes/Changes:

Nilsson Starts: Anders Nilsson gets the start for the Islanders in goal.

Lee: Anders Lee has points in four of his last five games and has nine points (six goals, three assists) in eight games this season.

Okposo: Kyle Okposo leads the Islanders with 67 points this season (26 goals, 41 assists). Okposo overtook the injured John Tavares for the scoring lead with two assists Friday night against San Jose. Okposo is riding a three-game point streak (one goal, five assists).

Shooting Gallery: The Islanders have outshot their opponents in 10 of their last 12 games.

No More Miller: Former Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was in goal for Buffalo’s last five wins against the Islanders. The last Sabres goalie to beat the Islanders – other than Miller – was Patrick Lalime on Columbus Day in 2008.

Nolan Returns: Former-Islanders coach Ted Nolan returns to Nassau Coliseum for the first time since coaching the Islanders in the 2007-08 season.

Drew Stafford: The eighth-year Sabre is now the longest-tenured player in Buffalo. Stafford is on a three-game scoring streak.

Cory Conacher: After being claimed off waivers from the Ottawa Senators last week, Conacher has recorded two assists. Conacher played his college hockey at Canisius College in Buffalo.

Michal Neuvirth: Record a career-high 51 saves in Thursday's 4-2 defeat in Carolina. He has a .949 SV% in two games with Buffalo.

Tyler Ennis: Tyler Ennis leads the Sabres with 17 goals and is closing in on his second 20-goal campaign of his five-year career. The small [5’9], but speedy forward is tied with Cody Hodgson for the team lead in scoring with 35 points. Ennis is currently riding a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists) and had a goal against the Islanders earlier this season.

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