The end of the 2013-2014 NHL season has arrived for the Buffalo Sabres (21-51-9), and for many – this day couldn’t have come fast enough. In one fail swoop it will go down as one of the worst seasons, both on and off the ice for the Sabres. The Sabres close out the season at home with fan appreciation day at First Niagara Center playing the New York Islanders (33-37-11).
The only thing at stake here is two points for the Islanders – and their final resting place for the season. Currently they are tied with the Calgary Flames in points, but with both teams playing games could be the difference between selecting (pre-draft lottery) either fourth or fifth.
That has everything to do with the Buffalo Sabres as well, because the New York Islanders could opt to give the Sabres their first round draft pick this year or next year, a conditional pick they earned in the Thomas Vanek trade.
The previous two games in the season series with the Islanders took place on Long Island, and the organizations split those contests, with the victor each scoring four goals.
Despite being the worst teams in the league, both the Islanders and Sabres have dubious honors heading into today’s game. The Sabres have dropped their last six contests and 18 of their last 21 games. The New York Islanders come into the game on a hot streak, beating both the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils, all while dressing half their roster with rookies.
The bigger story at First Niagara Center today is not the game, but the retirement of Mike Robitaille and the various events surrounding fan appreciation night. While most all teams not entering the playoffs have fan appreciation night on the final night of the regular season in the last home game – the Buffalo Sabres more than any other team owe their fans a bit of appreciation after the year they put them through.
Game time tonight is 5PM.