The tales of these two teams couldn’t be any further apart on the spectrum of life. Tonight the Buffalo Sabres play host to the abysmal New York Islanders. The Buffalo Sabres are a team on the rise, trying to get better, to compete for the Stanley Cup, new ownership, new players and a rabid fan base make Buffalo a hockey destination.
There is only one word needed to describe the New York Islanders, stale. Still playing in an arena built in the 1970s, a contract on the isle is more of a sentence than a destination. Tied for the fewest wins in the league, and only one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Islanders are already in spoiler mode, every point they keep from their opponents keeps them [the opponents] away from a playoff spot.
The Buffalo Sabres cannot take this game lightly. The last time a basement dwelling team came into town [Columbus - like you need the reminder] the Sabres came out flat and saw their backup goaltender chased in favor of Rochester callup Drew Macintyre. The Sabres were able to recreate the score in mirror the next night against the Washington Capitals, and need to keep that momentum swing going.
The Islanders have some momentum going into tonights contest, as they are trying to build a stretch of road games together, having won their first road game of the season against the New Jersey Devils.
The Sabres are getting healthy in late November, with the return of Kaleta, Stafford, and Regehr imminent, Ryan Miller is close to returning the to ice as well, with this week being hopeful as his return to practice date. Despite playing well in their call up roles, Corey Tropp, TJ Brennan, and Paul Szczechura were returned to the Rochester Americans. The Sabres have kept Kassian and McNabb with the parent club, hoping to capitalize with a larger roster against the Islanders.
Tonights matchup is the first of four against the Islanders, last year New York won three out of the four matchups with the Sabres.