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Islanders in town tonight

New York teams will finish off homestand

⏰ 7 p.m.   📺 MSG   📻 WGR550

After two back-to-back matches and an off day, both the Sabres and Islanders are taking this matchup head on. New York looks to hold on to their first place Metropolitan spot, while Buffalo is working to scrape up as many points as possible for a Wild Card spot.

SabresStatsPanthers
28-23-7Record25-24-8
17-9-4Home14-10-5
11-14-3Away11-14-3
4-1Shootouts3-4
168Goals For177
181Goals Against197
19thPP Rank3rd
10thPK Rank8th

Season series: 

DateH/ATimeResultGWG
Mon, Dec. 31stHome6 p.m.L 3-1Brock Nelson
Tues, Feb. 12thHome7 p.m.W 3-1Jason Pominville
Sat, Mar. 30thAway7 p.m.TBD

This is the second meeting between both teams this season. The Islanders beat the Sabres, 3-1, on New Year’s Eve in Buffalo. The Sabres’ penalty kill is 10-11 (90.9 percent) in the team’s last five games against the Islanders.

Buffalo notes: 

#Top ScorersGPGoalsAssistsPoints
9Jack Eichel55184462
53Jeff Skinner58361753
23Sam Reinhart58143751
55Rasmus Ristolainen5853136
26Rasmus Dahlin5862632

This past weekend, the Sabres (27-21-7)  beat Detroit but fell to Winnipeg. This is the eighth time the Sabres have attempted a multi-win streak but have had no luck. The Sabres are currently 2-2-1 in their seven-game homestand and enter tonight’s game four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Captain Jack Eichel is looking to extend his point streak to six games for the third time this season, as he currently has at least a point in each of his last five games.

Casey Mittelstadt will be a game-time decision tonight and C.J. Smith will be ready to take his place in the event of his absence. The rest of the lineup will remain unchanged from Sunday.

New York notes: 

#Top ScorersGPGoalsAssistsPoints
16Aleksander Barkov57223557
11Jonathan Huberdeau57134053
68Mike Hoffman57262349
3Keith Yandle5783745
63Evgenii Dadonov57202444

This past weekend, the Islanders (33-16-6) swept both of their opponents, Colorado and Minnesota, to extend their winning streak to three. They hold the second Eastern Conference playoff spot and are fifth in the league. Defenseman Ryan Pulock has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past five games.

“Last time we played them when we were breaking out, which I thought we did a really good job against their forecheck, but they were stripping a lot of pucks from behind,” Coach Housley said at Tuesday morning’s skate. “We have to be aware of that because they come back into their own zone and they have a big commitment to their own end.

“There’s a reason why they’re number one overall 5-on-5 goals against and just overall in general goals against. We’re going to have to grind it out, fight for everything that we get with space in the offensive zone. But I thought we played a really strong game against them.”

Starting goaltenders: 

Starting GoaltendersW/LGAASV %SHO
Linus Ullmark13-6-42.98.9102
Career vs. FLA2-1-12.98.9170
James Reimer12-10-53.05.9010
Career vs. BUF11-4-23.09.9051

Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark will start in net tonight. He is coming off a 28-save effort in the win over the Red Wings, which was his 50th NHL appearance. He has a .914 save percentage in that span — the best in franchise history among goalies who have played their first 50 games for Buffalo.

New York’s goaltending will be a challenge for Buffalo as they have only allowed 1.23 goals per game in their last 14 games. Thoma Greiss improved to 16-10 with a 2.28 goals against average. While ex-Sabre Robin Lehner has gone 17-12 with a 2.05 GAA so far this season. Lehner is expected to start in goal tonight.

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
6146-11-496
6035-17-878
5936-19-476
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
5835-17-676
6033-20-773
6032-21-771
Wild Card leaders:
6032-21-771
5933-23-369
-----------------------------------------
6031-23-668
5928-24-763
6028-25-763
5826-24-860
5926-25-860
6023-29-854
6023-29-854
5922-32-549
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
5936-19-476
6134-22-573
5932-22-569
Pacific Division Leaders:
5936-16-779
6035-17-878
6132-25-468
Wild Card leaders:
5829-24-563
6027-27-660
-----------------------------------------
5924-24-1159
6025-26-959
6026-27-759
5926-28-557
6024-27-957
5824-29-553
5923-30-652