The Buffalo Sabres head to Uniondale, NY trying to break a five-game losing streak against the Islanders.
New York can clinch a playoff berth tonight with a win over the Sabres. The Islanders won in dramatic fashion in their last contest, erasing a two-goal deficit and defeating the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Buffalo is looking to get back on the winning side of the ledger after losing to Detroit 5-4 in overtime, in a game where Buffalo also erased a two-goal deficit, twice in the contest, but ultimately fell in the extra session.
This is the third and final meeting of the season between these two teams. Both teams have scored victories, with the Islanders winning the first game 3-1, and Buffalo winning the second meeting by an identical score.
The Sabres are not only coming into this game on a five-game losing streak, but they’ve also lost 12 of their last 13 overall.
On the positive side of things, Victor Olofsson looked like he belonged in the NHL in his debut against the Red Wings with a fine assist on Jack Eichel’s 100th goal of his career. So for Sabres fans, the potential is there to see Olofsson, Nylander, Mittelstadt, Pilut, and Borgen again tonight, which brings some intrigue to these largely useless games.
For the Islanders, as mentioned before, this game is much more than useless for them. They have a chance to clinch a playoff berth tonight with 2 points against the Sabres, and theoretically, pull to within one point of the division lead of the Washington Capitals, should the defending Stanley Cup Champions fall to Tampa Bay tonight.
Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey have been on particular hot streaks of late, each notching four points in their last five games, with Eberle potting three goals, and Bailey two during that span.
For the Sabres, Carter Hutton will guard the pipes tonight. Hutton has dropped four of his last five starts and has a save percentage below .900 in three of those five. In his career against the Islanders, Hutton has a 1-1-1 overall record, with a .910 save percentage and a 2.32 goals-against-average rating.
Tending to the nets for the Islanders tonight will be Thomas Greiss. Greiss has been shaky over his last five games, winning only twice, and dropping his last two games. For his career against the Sabres, Greiss has split four decisions but has compiled an impressive .943 save percentage and a 1.77 goals-against-average mark.