NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 16th (All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (29-11-5) at New York Islanders (20-19-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders will be vying to build off their most impressive victory of the season, while the Buffalo Sabres are hoping to avoid a repeat result of their last visit to the Nassau Coliseum when these two teams face off tonight.
The Islanders kicked off their current three-game homestand with a bang, routing the defending Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings by a 6-0 score Tuesday at the Coliseum. Rob Schremp recorded his first career two-goal game to lead the offense, while Dwayne Roloson needed to make only 16 saves to post his first shutout of the season.
"It was the best game we played all year," Roloson said. "We stayed to out game-plan, we did the things that we had to do. We capitalized on some chances that we got and didn't give them any."
Tuesday's dominant performance followed up a hard-fought 5-4 shootout win at Phoenix on January 9 and was New York's fourth in its last five games. The Islanders are 7-2-1 over their 10 most recent outings.
After finishing last in the NHL with 61 points in 2008-09, the Isles have already compiled 48 points this season and are 10th in the Eastern Conference at the moment.
New York has also won its last three matchups at Nassau Coliseum, a building where the Sabres haven't scored a goal in their last two trips. The Islanders dealt Buffalo a 5-0 defeat there on October 31 behind 38 saves from backup netminder Martin Biron and a hat trick out of Jeff Tambellini.
The Sabres, who also suffered a 2-0 loss at the Coliseum last February, did get a measure of revenge by shutting out the Islanders by a 3-0 score in Buffalo on November 4, the team's second win in three meetings with New York this season.
Ryan Miller stopped all 24 shots he faced in that game, and the Sabres goaltender was also sharp in Thursday's 2-1 overtime decision on the road over Atlanta. Miller turned aside 32-of-33 shots in helping Buffalo improve to 7-0-1 over its last eight games.
Derek Roy netted the game-winning goal at the 2:27 mark of overtime with a one-timer off a feed from Tim Connolly. Patrick Kaleta also scored for the Sabres, who presently own a comfortable 10-point advantage on Boston for first place in the Northeast Division.
Connolly has now notched a point in 10 consecutive games and has generated 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) over that stretch.
New York's Josh Bailey is riding a seven-game point streak after contributing two assists in Tuesday's triumph. The 2008 first-round draft pick has had four goals and eight assists during his tear.
Buffalo plays the second test of a season-long seven-game road trip this evening and is a strong 13-6-0 as the visitor this season.
01/16 10:42:17 ET