⏰ 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.
Sabres Stats Panthers 28-23-7 Record 25-24-8 17-9-4 Home 14-10-5 11-14-3 Away 11-14-3 4-1 Shootouts 3-4 168 Goals For 177 181 Goals Against 197 19th PP Rank 3rd 10th PK Rank 8th
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.
# Top Scorers GP Goals Assists Points 9 Jack Eichel 55 18 44 62 53 Jeff Skinner 58 36 17 53 23 Sam Reinhart 58 14 37 51 55 Rasmus Ristolainen 58 5 31 36 26 Rasmus Dahlin 58 6 26 32
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 Scorers GP Goals Assists Points 16 Aleksander Barkov 57 22 35 57 11 Jonathan Huberdeau 57 13 40 53 68 Mike Hoffman 57 26 23 49 3 Keith Yandle 57 8 37 45 63 Evgenii Dadonov 57 20 24 44
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 W/L GAA SV % SHO Linus Ullmark 13-6-4 2.98 .910 2 Career vs. FLA 2-1-1 2.98 .917 0 James Reimer 12-10-5 3.05 .901 0 Career vs. BUF 11-4-2 3.09 .905 1
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.