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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres were on the ice at HSBC Arena for practice on Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s matinee against the New York Islanders, who put up some eye-popping numbers in their game against Pittsburgh Friday night.  Not only did the Islanders win by a 9-3 score, the two teams combined for an incredible 346 penalty minutes in a game that featured 15 fighting majors and 21 misconduct penalties, including 11 game misconducts.

Drew Stafford
Video: Drew Stafford

Lost in the shuffle perhaps is the fact that the Islanders enjoyed their biggest offensive outburst in nearly 18 years, and Lindy Ruff knows they’re a dangerous team.

“I warned our team yesterday that I think (the Islanders) are a good offensive team, that they have some really good, young, talented forwards.  We saw it in the games that we’ve played them.  They have good team speed.”

2/12 - Lindy Ruff Interview

Three different Islander forwards notched their 20th goals of the season Friday, as John Tavares, Matt Moulson and rookie Michael Grabner each reached the mark. By the conclusion of Friday night’s games, the Islanders were one of only two NHL teams, along with Dallas, with three different players with 20 or more goals on the season.

Buffalo has two 20-goal scorers of their own, with Thomas Vanek (22) and Drew Stafford (20) both reaching the mark this week.  The two players have combined for nine goals and 13 points during the Sabres’ current three-game winning streak.  Buffalo has averaged over five goals per game during the streak, and Stafford said it’s important for the team’s top forwards to keep producing. 

“Definitely I’m happy with the way things are going but more importantly I’m just glad to be contributing,” said Stafford, who has tied his career-high for goals in a season in just 35 games played.  ”The offensive load is not only just with me but Thomas, Jason, Timmy, the guys that are supposed to be scoring goals and putting up points and providing offensive chances and capitalizing on them, we are, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

The Isles enter Sunday’s game at HSBC Arena having won three of their last four outings.

Montador Skates: Steve Montador, who has missed the last two games with concussion symptoms, practiced in a limited role on Saturday for first time since sustaining the injury a week ago against Toronto.

“He’s cleared to practice in a no-contact sense today and tomorrow,” said Ruff of Montador.  “Hopefully Monday that means he goes full-contact, and we’ll evaluate after that.”
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