3 – New York Islanders
We know how good the Islanders are defensively, thanks to the Buffalo Sabres putting up just two goals against them on Long Island. Unfortunately, this past Saturday’s game is the only sample we have so far on the Isles, but they will play the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow and the New Jersey Devils on the 20th, which will give us more insights on how they compare to the rest of the league.
However, since the Blue and Gold have some experience facing them, they know what to expect and who to key on. Brock Nelson gave them trouble on Saturday night, scoring a goal and snagging a helper on another score. Casey Cizikas crushed them on the faceoff dot, winning nine of 11 attempts, while Bo Horvat enjoyed a 57.7 percent faceoff win percentage.
Come Saturday, we’ll have greater insights on what to expect from the Islanders, and we’ll write a follow-up game preview post on how they are faring in 5-on-5 analytics vs. the rest of the league in the early going. Until then, we can bank on the fact that the Sabres know what they’re up against.
(Statistics and analytics provided by Hockey-Reference)