Islanders Return Home for First Time Since Playoff Clinching Shootout Win
/ Florida Panthers
No. 1 Buffalo at No. 8 NY Islanders, 7:30 p.m., VERSUS
Tonight on Versus, the No. 8 New York Islanders will seek their first postseason victory at home since April 28, 2002 when they take on the No. 1 Buffalo Sabres in Game Three of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-up at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
With that said, the surprising Islanders gained home-ice advantage Saturday with a 3-2 win over the Sabres in Buffalo. The Islanders were sparked by their franchise goalie, Rick DiPietro returning for the first time since suffering two concussions three weeks ago. DiPietro made 32 saves in the win.
The Islanders will be looking to not let history repeat itself. New York failed to take advantage of similar situations in their previous two playoff appearances. They earned one road win in the first two games against Ottawa in 2003 and Tampa Bay in 2004, but did not win another contest after that in either series.
Buffalo meanwhile has not played up to its regular season NHL leading 113 points. Chris Drury scored two goals in Game One of the series and remains the only forward to score for the Sabres on a team that was known during the regular season as a scoring machine. Daniel Briere (32 goals) and Thomas Vanek (43 goals), the team’s two leading scorers, have yet to score a goal in the series.
Buffalo did lead the league in winning on the road during the regular season with a 25-12-4 mark away from the HSBC Arena. The Sabres split two visits to the Nassau Coliseum, a 3-0 victory on Oct. 26 and a 5-3 defeat Jan. 27.