New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres, 7:00pm ET
First Niagara Center — Buffalo, NY — MSG+
The Islanders are right back at it tonight for Game #48 of the shortened season. They’ll be in Buffalo to take on the Sabres, who like last night’s opponent, have been eliminated from contention earlier in the month.
The Sabres made a small run at the beginning of the month, going 6-2 to draw within a hope and prayer of eighth place. But last Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Rangers at the Garden dashed any hopes of playoffs. They’ve been a below-average team all around; 20th in goals for and 23rd in goals against. Goalie Ryan Miller hasn’t been bad, with a .914 save percentage, but that’s right about at the NHL average.
Thomas Vanek has been a bright spot, with 20 goals and 40 points in 37 games. 23-year old Cody Hodgson has also been solid and is the team’s second leading scorer with 34 points. But the Sabres have had a trouble finding offense from anyone else, save for Tyler Ennis. On defense, the Sabres haven’t had anyone very effective outside of Christian Erhoff and Alex Sulzer.
For the Islanders, they don’t control their own destiny as we went over this morning. But, most importantly, they are in the playoffs no matter what.
In terms of the lineup, Thomas Hickey comes back in for Lubomir Visnovsky. Capuano told Staple that it’s just a rest day for the veteran. Evgeni Nabokov is back in net and the forwards will be the same, which means we’ll have another night of Eric Boulton.
Also, Christian is in Buffalo for tonight’s game. You can follow his updates on Twitter here.
Tonight’s Projected Lines
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo
Grabner – Aucoin – McDonald
Boulton – Cizikas – Martin
Hamonic – MacDonald
Hickey – Carkner
Streit – Strait