NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 28th
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (31-24-7) at New York Islanders (18-36-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres are going through tough times right now,
while the New York Islanders have endured their share of hardships all season
The injury-plagued Sabres will try for a much-needed victory over the
Islanders, owners of the NHL's worst record, when the two teams face off this
evening at Nassau Coliseum.
Buffalo has lost two straight and three of its last four games and came up
short in a key matchup at Carolina on Thursday. After tying the contest midway
through the third period, the Hurricanes came through with a 2-1 win when
Jussi Jokinen scored the only goal in the deciding shootout phase.
The triumph drew Carolina even with Buffalo in the race for the eighth and
final playoff seed in the tightly-bunched Eastern Conference. Both clubs have
69 points, which is one point more than 10th-place Pittsburgh and one less
than Florida and the New York Rangers, who are tied for sixth in the
The Sabres will attempt to rebound against an Islanders squad that was dealt
its ninth defeat in its last 11 outings with Thursday's narrow loss to
Toronto. Tim Stapleton scored the winning goal in the third round of a
shootout as the Maple Leafs posted a 5-4 victory at Nassau Coliseum.
New York still managed to earn a point thanks to a late rally in regulation.
Trailing 4-2 with under nine minutes left, the Islanders got goals from Mark
Streit and Jon Sim, with Streit setting up Sim's game-tying tally with just
3:07 to go.
Joey McDonald made 29 saves for the Islanders in regulation and overtime, but
stopped just 1-of-3 Toronto skaters during the shootout portion.
Thursday's setback came in the opener of a six-game homestand for New York,
which owns a 12-13-5 record as the host this season.
The Islanders get to face a Buffalo team that won't have starting netminder
Ryan Miller available for a third straight game tonight. The steady backstop
is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain he suffered during the Sabres'
4-2 win over the Rangers a week ago.
Patrick Lalime performed well in Miller's absence against the Hurricanes, with
the journeyman goaltender turning aside 31 of the 32 shots he faced.
In addition to Miller's injury, Buffalo has been without leading goal scorer
Thomas Vanek for the past three weeks due to a fractured jaw and may not have
defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (head) available for tonight's game as well.
The Sabres have emerged victorious in each of their last two visits to Long
Island, including a 7-1 rout on October 13. The Islanders did exact some
revenge with a 4-2 road decision over Buffalo on November 22.
02/28 10:53:45 ET