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Islanders at Sabres preview

Lehner to face former team with New York seeking fourth straight win; Buffalo has lost 10 of 14

by Heather Engel / NHL.com Correspondent

ISLANDERS (20-13-4) at SABRES (21-12-6)

6 p.m. ET; MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The New York Islanders will try for their fourth straight win when they play the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Monday.

Islanders goalie Robin Lehner will make his second straight start after making 36 saves in a 4-0 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Lehner, who has not allowed a goal in 127:29 and has won his past four decisions, had a .916 save percentage and 2.77 goals-against average in 133 games (42-61-22) with the Sabres before signing with the Islanders as an unrestricted free agent on July 3.

The Sabres scored two goals or fewer for the fourth time in their past five games in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Buffalo is 4-6-4 in its past 14 games.

 

Players to watch

Islanders center Mathew Barzal has six goals and two assists during a four-game point streak, including a natural hat trick on Saturday.

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart has 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in his past 15 games and has a point in 14 of those 15 games.

 

They said it

"Some mixed emotions; can't really put a feeling to it but it's nice to be back. Great people over there, great organization. It's going to be fun to play today." -- Islanders goalie Robin Lehner on being back in Buffalo

"We've just got to keep firing pucks. I liked what Boston did in the third period [on Saturday]; they threw pucks at the net from every angle. We've got to have that mentality." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

 

Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Brock Nelson -- Joshua Ho-Sang

Anthony Beauvillier -- Mathew Barzal -- Josh Bailey

Michael Dal Colle -- Valtteri Filppula -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Robin Lehner

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Luca Sbisa, Tom Kuhnhackl, Ross Johnston

Injured: Thomas Hickey (upper body), Andrew Ladd (lower body), Jordan Eberle (stiffness)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Conor Sheary -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Evan Rodrigues

Tage Thompson -- Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Pominville

C.J. Smith -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Dahlin

Nathan Beaulieu -- Zach Bogosian

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Matt Hunwick, Lawrence Pilut, Remi Elie

Injured: Zemgus Girgensons (upper body), Casey Nelson (upper body), Scott Wilson (ankle)

 

Status report

Eichel skated Monday morning after not practicing Sunday. Coach Phil Housley said he's a game-time decision. … The Islanders had a day off Sunday but held a full morning skate Monday. … Housley said Smith, called up from Rochester of the American Hockey League, will play.

 

Stat pack

This is the sixth rime the Sabres will host the Islanders on New Year's Eve; New York has won four of the first five. ... Sobotka will play in his 500th NHL game. … With 782 wins, Islanders coach Barry Trotz can pass Al Arbour for sole possession of fourth place on the NHL's all-time list with a victory.

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