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New York Islanders @ Buffalo Sabres - Game preview

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
Team Record: 25-26-8

Last Game: 6-0 L vs. OTT
Season Series: 2-0-1 of 4
Team Record: 25-27-8
Last Game: 6-2 W vs PIT
Season Series: 1-2-1 of 4
Frans Nielsen
Known as a shootout specialist, the Danish forward has three regulation goals in his last five games. As the Islanders look for secondary scoring, Nielsen has been their man and has 12 goals and 16 assists this season.

And if the game does go beyond 65 minutes, Nielsen already has three game-deciders this season.
Tyler Myers
The Sabres 6-foot-8-inch  defenseman found his scoring touch in February, netting points in six of his last eight games. The streak started against the Islanders on Feb. 4 and he has recorded one goal and five assists over that span.

An anchor on the Sabres blue line, Myers plays big minutes, usually between 22-24 per game. In his last outing, Myers had an assist, was plus-4 and played 22:34 in a 6-2 win over Pittsburgh.
The Final Showdown: The Islanders and Sabres meet for the final time this season. Separated by one point in the standings, the Islanders can either put some distance between them in the Sabres, or keep them hanging around in the playoff picture. If the Islanders can win in regulation, they will have taken seven of eight points against the Sabres this season. In three previous games, Matt Martin has dropped the gloves with three different Sabres and with so much on the line, another bout/heated affair is likely in order.

Home on the Road: The Islanders have become a formidable road team, winning four of their last five on opposition ice. In February the team secured victories in Ottawa, Philadelphia and Winnipeg and won their previous contest at First Niagara Center. 

Start Streaking: After a 7-5-1 January, the Islanders have alternated wins and losses through 10 games in February. .500 hockey won’t be enough to get the Isles into the playoffs and they need to start streaking now. A 4-2 win over Buffalo on Jan. 14 sparked a four-of-five run for the Islanders, and replicating that success will be crucial down the stretch drive.
Brad Boyes and Jason Pominville scored in a shootout as the Buffalo Sabres rallied to beat the New York Islanders 4-3 on Feb. 4 at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders held a 3-1 advantage after the first period on two Frans Nielsen goals and one from Josh Bailey. Nathan Gerbe scored in the first period for Buffalo, but the rally began with Derek Roy at 18:41 of the second period before Paul Gaustad sent the game to a shootout at 11:46 of the third. Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots, including nine in overtime, for the win while Al Montoya turned aside 34 in the losing effort.

Click the photo for gallery from the last time the Islanders played Buffalo.
Date of
DiPietro 1/3 Sports hernia/knee swelling 23 10 weeks
Hamonic 2/4 Broken Nose 8 2 weeks
Katic 9/24 Shoulder 59 out indef. (IR)
Mottau 12/30 Concussion 23 No timetbl. (IR)
Reese 2/7 MCL Sprain 7 4-6 weeks
Power play: 19.21%
Penalty kill: 83.14%
Home record: 13-14-5
Road record: 12-12-3
Goals For: 139
Goals Against: 174
Power play: 15.74%
Penalty kill: 80.39%
Home record: 14-11-7
Road record: 11-16-0
Goals For: 148
Goals Against: 175


Answer from Monday's question: What Islanders legend had his number retired 19 years ago at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 20, 1993?? The answer is: Billy Smith. The Islanders “big-game goaltender” had his jersey lifted to the rafters on Feb. 20, 1993. 
Check back after morning media availability for the lineup.

Sabres Expected Lineups
Forwards: Vanek-Roy-Pominville; Leino-Ennis-Stafford; Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta; Ellis-Boyes-Kassian.

Erhoff-Myers; Regehr-Leopold; Sekera-Weber.

Miller, Enroth

Jack Capuano after yesterday's 6-0 loss to Ottawa: “At this time of the year you need physicality. You have to pay the price. I’ll never ask anybody to fight but we weren’t physical enough. We need an injection in our lineup, we need something to happen here. We can’t have the emotion that we had on the bench here tonight.”

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