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Preview: Islanders vs. Sabres

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (6-2-3) VS. BUFFALO SABRES (4-7-0)

7:30 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, CHANNEL FINDER, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM

PRE-GAME UPDATES:


FIVE THINGS:

1. John Tavares’ Status: John Tavares (illness) was a surprise scratch in Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. Head coach Jack Capuano said he sent the Islanders captain home to be re-evaluated, but did not say if he would be healthy enough to play Sunday evening against the Buffalo Sabres. Tavares has 11 points (5G/6A) in 10 games this season.  

ISLANDERS LINES WITHOUT JOHN TAVARES VS. NEW JERSEY


2. Frans Nielsen’s goal streak: Frans Nielsen extended his goal-scoring streak to three games, after finding the back of the net Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders center is also on a four-game point streak (4G, 2A). Nielsen centered the Islanders top line Saturday, as John Tavares missed the game with an illness. If Tavares can’t go Sunday, expect to see Nielsen centering Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo. Nielsen has nine points (5G, 4A) in 11 games this season. 

3. Special Teams Still Streaking: The Islanders special teams are still rolling. The power play scored for a fifth-consecutive game Saturday, while the penalty kill went 3-for-3, improving to 26-for-26 over their past eight games. The power play (28.6%) and penalty kill (92.3%) are top-two in the NHL.

4. Vs. the Sabres: The Islanders went 2-0-1 against the Sabres last season. Jaroslav Halak had a 2-0-0 record against Buffalo last year – including a shutout – but Jack Capuano tends to split his goalies in back-to-back games. Stay tuned to NewYorkIslanders.com and @NYIslanders for lineup updates around 5 p.m. 




5.
Jack Eichel: Jack Eichel has four goals in 11 games to start his NHL career, including one against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night. Eichel was the second-overall pick in last June’s NHL draft and is widely considered to be the future of the Sabres franchise. Eichel is the reigning Hobey Baker Award winner (given annually to the top player in college hockey), after posting 71 points (26G 45A) in his freshman season at Boston University.  

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