The New York Islanders take on the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at Keybank Center at 7 p.m. Watch on MSG+2, MSG GO, or NHL.TV. Listen live on 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM LI News or online at radio.com/islanders. Read the game preview. Check the game notes.
Cal Clutterbuck took line drills in the Islanders morning skate, suggesting he's likely to return to the lineup after missing two games. Robin Lehner was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate.
LEHNER RETURNS TO BUFFALO, AGAIN:
For Robin Lehner, the big return to Buffalo has come and gone. That was in December, his first game back against his former team, when Lehner played what he called perhaps the hardest game of his life in the Islanders 3-1 win.
That's in the past and Tuesday's game has more of a businesslike, standard gameday feel to it, according to the Islanders goalie.
"It feels a little bit better, feels better being here this time. It was nice to get it over and done with last time," Lehner said. "They are a good team over there right now, that's how I see it, very fast, a lot of skill and we're going to have to be ready tonight."
Lehner leads the NHL in goals-against average (2.05) and save percentage (.930). Thomas Greiss is second in both categories with a 2.28 GAA and a .927 SV%.
"When both of them are vying for playing time and both of them are performing it gives us a big advantage," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "It is unusual for one and two in those categories to be like that, but good on them. They're both good goaltenders and both getting the job done for us."
SABRES ON ISLES:
Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley:
"They really get on top of pucks after their forecheck and coming back into their zone. They were stripping a lot of pucks from behind, so we have to be aware of that because they come back into their own zone and have a big commitment to their own end. There's a reason they are number one overall in 5-on-5 goals against and overall in general in goals against.
Former Islanders forward Kyle Okposo:
"They are really tight in their structure. I know a lot of guys over there and they said Trotz has demanded them to play a certain way and they are buying into that. Their structure is very, very solid and there's not going to be a lot of room out there. They are all going to be in the right spots, you have to win your one-on-one battle, that's going to be the name of the game tonight."
SABRES PROJECTED LINES:
Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville
Conor Sherry - Casey Mittelstadt - Sam Reinhart
Vladimir Sobotka - Evan Rodrigues - Tage Thompson
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo
Marco Scandella - Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin - Matt Hunwick
Jake McCabe - Lawrence Pilut