It’s a battle of teams currently in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference on the ice in the Big Apple. The Buffalo Sabres are on the road as they make the trip within the state as they face the New York Islanders Saturday afternoon. Buffalo comes in off a 4-3 home victory over Nashville in their last contest Thursday night. New York earned a 3-1 victory on the road over Florida Thursday night in their last contest. The Islanders have won seven of the last nine meetings between the teams, including a 1-0 road win in the first matchup this season on November 2.
Buffalo Sabres Look for Fourth Straight WinBuffalo battled and ended up earning a third straight victory as they took down Nashville at home in their previous contest. The Sabres entered Friday holding the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division and stood 10 points back of the Bruins for the top spot. Buffalo is 13th in the league in goals for as they average 3.15 goals per game so far this season. The Sabres are tied for 16th in the league in goals against as they allow three goals per contest this year. Buffalo’s power play has been below average this season as the team is 20th in the league by cashing in 17.3 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Sabres are 29th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 74.5 percent of their shorthanded situations thus far.
In their last game, the Sabres had their struggles early but managed to come back and get the victory. The first period saw Buffalo hold a 15-12 margin in shots on goal but they trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes of play. After giving up a goal in the opening minute, Jimmy Vesey tied the game for the Sabres with his fourth of the year at 14:33 off an assist from Rasmus Ristolainen. Buffalo gave up the go-ahead goal later in the period. The second period saw Buffalo outshot by a 12-9 margin but they held a 2-1 edge on the scoreboard to tie the game after 40 minutes. Jack Eichel scored his 21st of the year at 4:55 off assists from Sam Reinhart and Colin Miller. Eichel added his second of the game and his 22nd of the year at 14:21 off assists from Henri Jokiharju and Rasmus Dahlin to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead. Buffalo gave up the equalizer in the late stages of the period. In the final period, Buffalo was outshot 15-8 but scored the only goal to earn the victory. Victor Olofsson scored his 13th of the year at 8:29 off assists from Brandon Montour and Reinhart to earn the victory. Linus Ullmark made 36 saves for the Sabres in the win. Buffalo was outshot 39-32 in the contest.
New York Islanders Try to Defend Home IceNew York swept the Florida teams on the road as they took down the Panthers with a stellar defensive showing in their last game. The Islanders entered Friday second in the Metropolitan Division, seven points behind the Capitals. New York is 18th in the league in goals for as they average 2.90 goals per contest this season. The Islanders are 2nd in goals against by allowing 2.33 goals per game this year. New York is 11th on the power play as they convert 20.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Islanders are 11th in the league in penalty killing as they have successfully handled 82.9 percent of their shorthanded situations this season.
tic-tac-BARZAL 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/yjej08fmEA— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 13, 2019
In their last game, the Islanders closed down on the Panthers and held Florida in check to earn the victory. New York held a 9-8 edge in shots in the opening period but the game was scoreless after 20 minutes of play. The second period saw the shots even at 12 with the Islanders outscoring Florida 2-1 to take that margin to the dressing room after 40 minutes of play. Devon Toews scored his third of the year at the 49 second mark, on the power play, off assists from Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee to open the scoring. Mathew Barzal made it a 2-0 game with his 13th of the year, on the power play, at 4:40 off assists from Eberle and Josh Bailey. The Panthers tallied later in the period to cut the lead in the half. In the third period, New York was outshot 13-9 in the stanza but scored the lone goal of the period to salt the game away. Lee hit the empty net for his ninth of the year, unassisted, at 19:57 to seal the win. Thomas Greiss made 32 saves in the contest for the Islanders, who were outshot 33-29 in the game.
The top trends for this contest according to Oddsshark.com:
- Sabres are 2-7 in their last nine vs. the Islanders
- Sabres are 2-8 in their last 10 on the road
- Islanders are 5-0 in their last five at home
- Islanders are 9-1 in their last 10 vs. Eastern Conference teams