NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 27th
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (33-13-4) at New York Islanders (22-21-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will attempt to keep up their recent
mastery of the New York Islanders when the two teams square off this evening
at Nassau Coliseum.
The Sabres will be shooting for their seventh consecutive victory in this
series and fourth straight win on the Island. Buffalo has won both earlier
meetings with New York this season, including a 3-0 decision at Nassau
Coliseum on October 26.
Prior to this string of losses, the Islanders had claimed seven wins in a row
over Buffalo. However, New York hasn't beaten the Sabres since February 27,
2004, when it came through with a 4-2 decision on the road.
Buffalo tops the Eastern Conference with 70 points but has not been playing
its best hockey as of late. The Sabres have dropped five of their last seven
contests, including Friday's 3-2 setback at Columbus in their first game back
from the All-Star break. Rostislav Klesla and Dan Fritsche both had third-
period goals to lead the Blue Jackets to the come-from-behind win.
Chris Drury tallied both goals for the Sabres, with All-Star Game MVP Daniel
Briere assisting on each of those markers. Ryan Miller stopped 24 of 27 shots
Tonight's matchup concludes a string of three straight road games for Buffalo,
which began with a 4-3 loss at Montreal last Saturday. The Sabres are still a
strong 17-6-2 away from home for the season.
New York was also a loser on Friday, as Ilya Kovalchuk scored 2:59 into
overtime to lift the Atlanta Thrashers to a 5-4 victory over the Isles at
All-Star Jason Blake had a goal and one assist for New York, which lost for
the fourth time in five chances, while Trent Hunter, Miroslav Satan, and Chris
Campoli also lit the lamp.
Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro was burned for three goals on only five
shots over the game's first 5 1/2 minutes. He was replaced by Mike Dunham, who
made 26 saves despite receiving the loss.
New York is 11-9-3 as the host this season but has fallen in each of its last
four games at the Coliseum. The Islanders' last home win was a 2-0 triumph
over the crosstown-rival Rangers on December 26.
01/27 10:31:49 ET