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New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres - game preview

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
Answer from Friday's question: Who is the lone Islanders goalie to record a shutout against the Ottawa Senators? The answer is: Ron Hextall. Hextall blanked the Senators 4-0 on Feb. 19, 1994 to kick off the longest consecutive home shutout streak in Islanders history. He followed it up with two more shutouts at the Coliseum, a record that DiPietro tied in December 2006.
Team Record: 21-22-7

Last Game: 2-1 OTW @ OTT
Season Series: 2-0-0 of 4
Team Record: 21-24-6
Last Game: 1-0 L vs NYR
Season Series: 0-2-0 of 4
Matt Martin
Mark Eaton was the overtime hero in Ottawa, but he wouldn’t have scored had Matt Martin not forced overtime. The NHL’s current hits leader scored his sixth goal of the campaign Friday night, snapping a shot low stick side on Craig Anderson. Martin finished the game with what turned out to be a huge goal, three hits and a plus-one rating.

Martin now has 13 points on the season [6g/7a] and provides grit and energy in the Islanders lineup. The 22-year-old isn’t afraid to drop the gloves either, something he’s done in his last two games against the Sabres.
Jason Pominville
The Sabres captain and lone All-Star currently leads his team with 47 points (17g/30a) in 51 games. Despite a recent dip in production, Pominville has been a steady scorer for the Sabres and has already had two six-game point streaks.

Pominville lit the lamp and added an assist in his first career NHL All-Star Game last weekend. The 29-year-old winger also fared well in the elimination shootout at the Skills Competition. He advanced to the final round, tying John Tavares for second behind Steven Stamkos.

Playoff Pushes: The Islanders and Sabres are separated by one point in the Eastern Conference standings with slightly more than 30 games remaining in the season. If the Islanders are going to make the playoffs, they have to leapfrog teams like the Sabres. If the Sabres are going to make the playoffs, they have to leapfrog teams like the Islanders. Every game is a must-win. A win is huge and a loss is devastating for either team at this point.

Sabres not Scoring: The Sabres big three of Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Pominville have struggled since their last trip to Long Island on Jan. 14. In their seven games since playing the Isles, Vanek and Roy haven’t recorded a point and Pominville has posted only three (2g/1a). As a result, the Sabres have lost five of their last seven while being outscored 21-10. With Vanek sidelined by an upper body injury, Roy and Pominville look to reverse their misfortunes where the funk began, Nassau Coliseum.

Rough Stuff: The Sabres may reside in upstate New York, but the Islanders play them as if they were from Manhattan or Newark. In their two previous meetings, they have totaled 40 penalty minutes and two fights. With so much on the line, don’t be surprised if the gloves come off for this game.
Evgeni Nabokov earned his 300th career victory as the Islanders beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Jan. 14 at Nassau Coliseum. Nabokov faced down a Thomas Vanek penalty shot with 1:24 remaining to preserve the lead and stopped 23 of 25 shots. Michael Grabner scored two goals, including the game-winner with 3:03 remaining in the third period. Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson rounded out the Islanders scoring, while Patrick Kaleta and Derek Roy lit the lamp for the Sabres.

Click the photo for gallery from last game.
Date of
Katic 9/24 Shoulder 50 out indef. (IR)
DiPietro 1/3 Sports hernia/knee swelling 14 10 weeks
Mottau 12/30 Concussion 15 No timetbl. (IR)
Reasoner 1/6 Broken hand 12 No timetbl. (IR)
Power play %: 20%
Penalty kill %: 84.67%
Home record: 11-11-4
Road record: 10-11-3
Goals For: 122
Goals Against: 146
Power play %: 17.14%
Penalty kill %: 81.56%
Home record: 11-9-6
Road record: 10-15-0
Goals For: 122
Goals Against: 151
Check back after morning media availabilty for lineups. Click here for the expected lines.

Sabres (Expected) Lineups
Forwards: Leino-Roy-Pominville; Gerbe-Ennis-Kassian; Boyes-Gaustad-Kaleta; Ellis-Adam-McCormick

Erhoff-Myers; Regehr-Leopold; Sekera-Weber

Miller, Enroth

Travis Hamonic on Saturday's game vs. Buffalo: “They’ve had a couple days off from their last game. They are going to be ready for us, but it’s a team I think we played pretty well the last couple of games. They are a quick skating bunch, their d-men move the puck really well and their forwards like to get in on the fore-check. We have to make sure that we keep five guys ahead of us and try and come out and play a good game.”

Author: Cory Wright

Author: Cory Wright

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