UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - Linus Ullmark will make his fourth-consecutive start in goal this afternoon as the Buffalo Sabres take on the New York Islanders.
Ullmark is 4-1-0 with a .930 save percentage in five appearances during the month of December, tying for the most wins in the NHL in that stretch. He is also 3-1-0 in four career games against the Islanders with a .938 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average.
"Linus has taken over the primary responsibility at the moment and it's his consistency, I think, that we like, and his calm. He's a calm goalie," head coach Ralph Krueger said. "He's taking care of what he needs to take care of and we're helping him take care of second chances and opportunities. We just need to continue to do that, but our goaltending's been very good this year."
Faceoff is at 1 p.m. from NYCB Live with the pregame coverage on MSG starting at 12:30 p.m.
The Sabres will go with 12 forwards and six defensemen in their lineup, but Krueger would not confirm which players would be playing.
The Islanders won the previous matchup against the two teams with a 1-0 victory in Buffalo on Nov. 2. Derick Brassard scored 5:19 into the game on a passing attempt from behind the net, and the Islanders shut it down from there.
"We had an excellent first period against them and we drifted and tried to force it, and tried to play too complicated. They punished us with more scoring chances than we were getting," Krueger said. "We learned a lot from that game. They are as disciplined and compact as any team in the National Hockey League and they just do it religiously on a 60-minute basis.
"Everybody's bought in here in the Islanders and after having the confirmation last year by getting to the playoffs that it works, it's a different job that the coaches need to do. They need to confirm and keep the guys on track, but the players are executing as one continuously.
"When they get the puck, they've got a lot of skill - more than people give them credit for - and they're extremely dangerous. They take opportunity on any mistake you make."
The Sabres have won three in a row, and have earned points in nine of their last 11 games. They're 6-3-2 in that span. For more on that and Jack Eichel's 15-game point streak, check out this morning's edition of Sharpen Up.