Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

PreGame Skate: New York Islanders


The Buffalo Sabres, with points in their last three games, look to get back on the winning horse after getting the shutout loss against the New York Rangers.  The Buffalo Sabres had some time off since battling the blue shirts in which they were playing the second game of a back to back with travel.  Neither team in the Sabres/Rangers came looked like they were playing the second game in as many nights.

Tonight, the Sabres will be refreshed, while their opponent, the New York Islanders are coming home after playing in Ottawa last night.  This will be the third meeting between the two teams, and so far the Islanders have had the Sabres number.  With their win last night over Ottawa, the Islanders pull ahead of the Sabres by a point.  If the Buffalo Sabres think they have a chance at making the playoffs this year, you have to consider the Islanders in the same boat, and both teams are playing with that urgency.

For the Buffalo Sabres, the lack of scoring is what has kept them under the thumb of most teams in the league.  Coming into tonight 27th in scoring, they need to start finding the back of the net, or will be trading in their pads for golf clubs sooner they want.  The Islanders are in a similar situation with their scoring, if your not playing with or named John Tavares, its unlikely your going to score.  The team has been getting some unlikely help in that category, so Ryan Miller and the blue line corp need to be ready for action tonight against what should be considered a sleeper team this year, one that will try to make a push, but will most likely only being laying spoiler against any team they get points against.

The Sabres will continue to be without Thomas Vanek and his upper body injury, but Ennis and Stafford will be back in the lineup after missing time with the flu.  Sabres forwards need to figure out the chemistry of goal scoring in short order to defeat an Islanders team that has won two in a row, and has similar momentum that the Sabres have coming into the game.  This is the final trip for the Sabres to New York to play on the island, the blue and orange make a trip later in the month to the First Niagara Canter.

The Sabres and Islanders have many similarities right now, struggling in the standings, both from New York.  The biggest similarities, both are playing with a little bit of confidence, and both still think they can make the playoffs.  While the odds for both teams are close to astronomical, the odds of both teams making the playoffs this year are damn near insurmountable.  It will be one or the other if any.  A little bit of luck, continued confidence, and the heart of a team backed into a corner make both teams dangerous opponents.