Well, here we are, folks. The final game of the season for the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight’s opponent: the New York Islanders, who will finish the season two spots ahead of the Sabres in the Eastern Conference standings.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
14th in Eastern Conference
33-37-11, 77 points
Streak: Won 2
6-2-2 in the last 10 games
The New York Islanders look up to wrap up the 2013-2014 season with a win today in Buffalo. Two points in tonight’s game would extend their winning streak to three games. Either way, they’ll finish at 14th in the Eastern Conference.
In a story that isn’t unfamiliar to Sabres fans, the Islanders are dealing with several injuries of their own. Both of their top-scoring forwards are out with injuries. John Tavares has been out with a knee injury, while Kyle Okposo is out with a lower-body injury. They’re also got Johan Sundstrom, Cal Clutterbuck, Michael Grabner, Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky, all out with injuries. Half of their top scorers are either no longer on the team or out with injuries.
Overall, Okposo leads the Islanders in goals (27) and points (69). He’s tied with Tavares for the assists lead, with 42 each. Okposo and Tavares combined had 40 power play points this season. On deck is center Frans Nielsen, who has 25 goals and 31 assists in 79 games this season.
The Islanders two-game winning streak has seen them put up wins over the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils.
On Thursday, the Islanders shut out the Habs, 2-0 in Montreal. Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored for New York, while Evgeni Nabokov had 19 saves. Then, the Islanders defeated the Devils 3-2 in a shootout on Friday. Anders Lee and Ryan Strome scored in regulation, with Josh Bailey getting the shootout winner. Anders Nilsson had 25 saves.
Strome takes a two-game goal streak into tonight’s game against the Sabres. He has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 36 games this season. He also had 49 points in 37 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers and was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.
One more player to watch is defenseman Thomas Hickey, who will play his 82nd game of the season tonight. He’s the only Islanders player to achieve that feat this season.
Both the Islanders and Sabres are 8th in their respective divisions (Metropolitan, Atlantic.) The Islanders are 20-18-2 on the road this season and have 17 wins their last 25 road games.
The Islanders face the Sabres in Buffalo tonight at 5 p.m.