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Quick Turnaround as Sabres Visit Islanders Saturday Evening

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NHL: New Jersey Devils at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres face the Islanders for a 5 p.m. puck drop.

Game 72

Buffalo Sabres (34-31-6) vs, New York Islanders (37-27-9)

Puck Drop: 5:00 PM EST | UBS Arena | Elmont, NY

TV: ESPN+, Hulu

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Isles Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

Know Your Opponent

New York Islanders

Record: 37-27-9 | 83 PTS

Division Ranking: 4th in Metropolitan Division

Last Game: 5-4 loss to Columbus

Last 10: 6-2-2

PP: 29th (16.8%)

PK: 11th (81.6%)

What to Watch

1. Thompson Questionable, Rousek Recalled

Friday’s game was a big win for the Sabres, but top scorer Tage Thompson is considered “a question mark” for Saturday’s game. Thompson is currently dealing with an injury, and although he did return in Friday’s game, it’s probably best not to risk further setback.

With that in mind, forward Lukas Rousek has been recalled from the AHL’s Rochester Americans on an emergency basis. In addition to Thompson, the Sabres are also missing Jordan Greenway, who is out with an upper-body injury. Vinnie Hinostroza was also excused the last two days for personal reasons. (Hope everything is okay with Vinnie & his family.)

Rousek has skated in 61 games with the Amerks this season, putting up 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points. He’s second on the team in scoring, with only Brandon Biro (15-35-50) ahead of him.

That said, we’ll have to see what the lines look like when the Sabres hit the ice tonight. With a 5 p.m. puck drop, there is no morning skate. Head coach Don Granato will speak to the media at 3:30 p.m.

2. Staying in the Playoff Race

The Sabres’ playoff hopes continue to fluctuate on a daily basis. Earlier this week, the odds of Buffalo making the postseason were as low as 0.7 percent. Entering Friday, the odds were 1.0 percent. Today, thanks in part to the Sabres win on Friday night and other combinations - including the Islanders’ loss - the postseason chance is at a whopping 1.5 percent.

Look, it’s not great. The playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread, but stranger things have happened. With the Islanders currently holding the top wildcard spot, tonight’s game is a big one if Buffalo wants to have any hope of making it. Still, there are a lot of variables and a lot that needs to happen over the next few weeks to see Buffalo nab a playoff spot.

But again, I stress: stranger things have happened.

3. Who to Watch

Left winger Brock Nelson leads the Islanders with 32 goals and 67 points on the season, while Mat Barzal has 51 points, including 37 assists. Anders Lee (27-21-48) and Noah Dobson (13-30-43) are the other Islanders who have surpassed the 40-point mark.

Compare that to the Sabres, who are led by Thompson (44-45-89), Jeff Skinner (30-39-69) and Alex Tuch (32-36-68). Rasmus Dahlin has 65 points, and Dylan Cozens has 60. Casey Mittelstadt has also passed 40 points, with 42 on the season.

While the Sabres have a more productive and lethal offense, the Islanders have a strong goalie in Ilya Sorokin. Sorokin is 26-19-7 on the season with a 2.41 GAA and .923 save percentage. However, Sorokin played Friday night, so it seems like we’ll see Semyon Varlamov instead. He’s 11-8-2 on the season with a 2.79 GAA and .910 save percentage.

On the flip side, with UPL in net on Friday, it’s likely the Sabres go with Craig Anderson on Saturday. Anderson is 10-11-2 with a 3.07 GAA and .908 save percentage. They could also go with Eric Comrie, who backed up UPL Friday. Comrie is 8-9-0 this season with a 3.95 GAA an .877 save percentage.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


With no morning skate, we’ll see what the lines look like. Thompson’s status could also have an impact on the lines.

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson* - Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn

Casey Mittelstadt - Tyson Jost - Victor Olofsson

Zemgus Girgensons - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo


Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Owen Power - Ilya Lyubushkin

Riley Stillman - Jacob Bryson or Kale Clague

Goaltenders: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Craig Anderson, Eric Comrie, Devon Levi

New York Islanders


Anders Lee - Bo Horvat - Simon Holmstrom

Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri

Zach Parise - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Hudson Fasching

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck


Adam Pelech - Scott Mayfield

Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock

Samuel Bolduc - Noah Dobson

Goaltenders: Semyon Varlamov, Ilya Sorokin

View the full article


My Adopt A Sabre:Patrick Kaleta

My Adopt a Buffalo Bandit: John Tavares


Get Paid to watch commercials http://www.varolo.com/village/Tjm220

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