⏰ 6 p.m. ? MSG ? WGR550
Intro: The Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders square off for the first time this season. The Sabres will finish the calendar year and are in much better shape compared to previous seasons.
Season series: Tonight marks the 169th meeting all-time between the teams, with Buffalo winning 81 to New York’s 69. They also tied 19 times. The Islanders have taken four of the last five games, including two of three last season.
Buffalo notes: Since their 10-game winning streak, the Sabres have won just four of 14 games and teams are starting to catch them for the third spot in the Atlantic Division. They’re now just three points ahead of Montreal, a team that is holding the final Wild Card spot.
C.J. Smith was called up from Rochester on Monday morning. He has had success with the Amerks this season, recording 29 points in 33 games.
New York notes: The Islanders are four points behind Buffalo with two fewer games played. They’re coming off a 4-0 victory over John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs, and have won three straight games.
Starting goaltenders: Linus Ullmark is back with the team and feeling better, but Carter Hutton is expected to get the start in goal. The Sabres could face their former goalie in Robin Lehner, who is having a solid season in New York.