This will be the first of four meetings this season with the Isles who are 6-11-4 so far this season. The team has been struggling so far this year, one of their problems is their scoring. The Islanders rank last in the league with 1.95 goals per game, while the Sabres are tied for 9th in the league with 2.83 goals per game. New York continues to have goal tending issues, Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya, and Evgeni Nabokov are all vying to be the number 1 guy on Long Island. DiPietro seemed to have the top stop when he signed that huge contract a few years ago but since the contract was signed he has had numerous injuries, many that have taken him out of the line up for months. This season however all three goalies have been splitting the duty and coach Jake Capuano seems to be going with whoever has the hot hand. The team ranks near the bottom in goals against at 3.19 per game, while the Sabres only give up 2.61 goals a game.
Jason Pominville seems to like seeing the Islanders on the calender. Pominville has a point per game in 21 meetings against the Isles. Even though the Sabres are down nine starters, they do have some depth on the scoring chart. Vanek, Roy, Adam, and Pominville are leading the team in scoring with defenseman Ehrhoff not far behind. Pominville and Vanek are tied with 26 points, which leads the team. The Islanders leading scorer is John Tavares for NY with 16 points. Tavares is on a hot streak, so the Sabres are going to have to find a way to control his hot hand. Michael Grabner is another Islander that has had a hot hand in the last 4 games, with 4 points.
This team should have a little more energy than the Capitals had on Saturday. It should be a great match up for the Sabres and I’m looking forward it seeing all these young guys play just as hard as they did against the Caps. We will see.
My prediction for tonight 4-2 Buffalo, goals from Adam, Vanek, Pominville, and Stafford, who is back after missing one game.