Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum for the final time

Main storyline: With four games left in the 2014-15 season, the Buffalo Sabres (22-48-8) are back on the road after a heart breaking loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. The Sabres are on Long Island on Saturday to play its final game at the Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders (45-27-6).

Season series: The two teams have squared up against each other two other times this year, with both teams splitting the first two games. Buffalo won the first matchup on home-ice 4-3 in a shootout on December 27, and the Islanders won the second matchup in Buffalo 3-2 on February 8.

Where they stand: Buffalo continue to occupy the basement in the National Hockey League as the Sabres have a two point edge on the Arizona Coyotes in the race for last place. The Coyotes are also in action on Saturday finishing the second game of a home-and-home series with the San Jose Sharks in Glendale. For the Islanders, the team currently sits third in the Metropolitan Division just one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for that spot. The Islanders are tied with the Capitals in points, but Washington holds the tie breaker for second place in the division.

Recent performance: The Sabres almost stole a surprising game against the Blackhawks on Friday night at the First Niagara Center. After being down 2-0 in the first period, the Sabres stormed back to take a 3-2 lead with just 7:18 left in the third period. But two late goals from Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews with less than two minutes to play doomed the Sabres and they fell 4-3. The Islanders are coming off of a shootout loss suffered on Thursday night at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan Johansen tied the game with less than four minutes to of in the third period, and Mark Latest got the game-winning goal in the shootout to help the Jackets beat the Islanders for their eighth consecutive win.

Buffalo notes: The magic number for the Buffalo Sabres is three. Three more regulation losses and the Buffalo Sabres will clinch last place and will have the chance of drafting either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. But the Sabres are not going down without a fight in these final four games. Marcus Foligno had two goals against the Blackhawks on Friday night, and Rasmus Ristolainen registered assists on all three Sabres goals in the loss. It is performances from the young guys on this team that is to look forward to most with the season winding down. One improvement the Sabres have had over the past four games is the amount of shots the team throws at the net. The Sabres have outshot its opponents 143-114, and have a plus-21 Corsi rating in the four game span. It is still unclear if Matt Moulson or Mike Weber will play on Saturday night on Long Island. Moulson sat out Friday due to illness, and Mike Weber was out due to general soreness. Saturday will be the first career start for goaltender Andrey Makarov. With Matt Hackett sore with his knee, Makarov will get the call against the Islanders with two points on the line.

New York Islanders notes: The 2014-15 Islanders season has been a drastic turn-around from last year’s debacle. The Islanders are just games away from clinching a playoff berth for the second time in three years, and will fight to the end to clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs in its final year at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have gotten a stellar year from top players like captain John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Jaroslav Halak, and company. The Islanders could very well be one of the potential candidates to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only player that is out of the lineup due to injury for the Islanders is Mikhail Grabovski with a concussion suffered back in February. Jaroslav Halak is expected to get the start in net on Saturday against the Sabres.

Conclusion: The Sabres look to gain some ground in the standings, while the Islanders look to continue its push up the standings. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7pm from Long Island, and the game can be seen on MSG Network.

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