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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.

BUFStats (2018)PIT
33-39-10Record44-26-12
21-15-5Home23-14-4
12-24-5Away21-12-8
5-3Shootouts2-3
226Goals For273
271Goals Against241
16thPP Rank5th
12thPK Rank19th

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.L 5-1Anthony Beauvillier

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 Eichel69264975
23Sam Reinhart74194160
53Jeff Skinner74372259
26Rasmus Dahlin7483240
55Rasmus Ristolainen7453439

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
21Kyle Palmieri71272350
13Nico Hischier63172744
19Travis Zajac74172441
9Taylor Hall33112637
28Damon Severson76112637

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
Carter Hutton15-17-32.84.9090
Career vs. TBL2-2-03.38.8760
Louis Domingue19-4-02.86.9080
Career vs. BUF3-3-02.87.8980

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:
P8262-16-4128
X8249-24-9107
X8246-28-8100
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
Y8248-26-8104
X8248-27-7103
X8244-26-12100
Wild Card leaders:
X8246-29-799
X8247-31-498
-----------------------------------------
8244-30-896
8236-32-1486
8237-37-882
8232-36-1478
8233-39-1076
8232-40-1074
8231-41-1072
8229-47-664
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
Y8247-29-6100
X8247-30-599
X8245-28-999
Pacific Division Leaders:
Z8250-25-7107
X8246-27-9101
X8243-32-793
Wild Card leaders:
X8243-32-793
X8238-30-1490
-----------------------------------------
8239-35-886
8236-34-1284
8237-36-983
8235-36-1181
8235-37-1080
8235-38-979
8231-42-971