National Hockey League
Preview
Buffalo at NY Islanders
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, April 9, 2016
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The New York Islanders look to maintain their hold on third place in the Metropolitan Division when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in their penultimate game of the regular season. New York is even in points with the crosstown Rangers but has one game in hand — giving it temporary possession of the third spot in the division, which comes with a first-round matchup against Pittsburgh.

The Islanders, who complete their schedule Sunday at home against Philadelphia, have won three in a row since being blanked by the Penguins on April 2 and six of their last seven. Buffalo, which avoided finishing last in its division for a fourth consecutive season but failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth straight campaign, completed the home portion of its schedule Friday with a 4-1 loss to Columbus. The Sabres struggled in their own building but look to finish over .500 on the road as they carry an 18-17-5 record into Barclays Center. The Islanders and Sabres split their first two meetings this season, with each team posting a 2-1 victory on the road.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, BELL TV (Buffalo), MSG (New York)

ABOUT THE SABRES (34-36-11): Buffalo had three players make their NHL debuts Friday — including goaltender Jason Kasdorf, a 2011 sixth-round draft pick who allowed four goals on 30 shots against the Blue Jackets. Forwards Evan Rodrigues and Cole Schneider also skated in their first game, with the former registering a team-high five shots and the latter unleashing two. Sam Reinhart scored the team's lone goal — and his first in five contests — to pull within one of fellow rookie Jack Eichel (24) for the club lead.

ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (45-26-9): New York likely will have to make its run for the Stanley Cup without Anders Lee, who suffered a broken left fibula in Thursday's victory over the Rangers. The 25-year-old recorded 15 goals in 80 games this season after netting 25 in 76 contests last campaign. Captain John Tavares has collected three goals and five assists during his last three games and has posted multi-point performances in four of his last five contests.

OVERTIME

1. The Islanders' injury list continues to grow, as Lee joined G Jaroslav Halak (groin), D Travis Hamonic (lower body), RW Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) and LW Matt Martin (upper body).

2. Buffalo assigned G Nathan Lieuwen, who has not appeared in an NHL game since 2013-14, to Rochester of the American Hockey League.

3. Should New York fall into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, it will face Atlantic Division champion Florida in the opening round of the playoffs.

PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Sabres 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Buffalo 34-36-4-7 L1 16-19-3-3 18-17-1-4 6-3-0-2 28-33-4-5 11-14-2-3
NY Islanders 45-26-4-5 W3 25-10-3-1 20-16-1-4 6-5-0-2 39-21-4-3 18-7-2-2
Last Meeting
Buffalo NY Islanders
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
12/31/15 NYI 2 BUF 1 43 31 1-4 33 42 1-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Buffalo J. Eichel 1
NY Islanders J. Boychuk 1
Goals Player  
Buffalo R. O'Reilly 1
NY Islanders N. Kulemin 1
Assists Player  
Buffalo J. Eichel 1
NY Islanders J. Boychuk 1
Saves Player  
Buffalo L. Ullmark 31
NY Islanders T. Greiss 42
Season
Total Points Player  
Buffalo R. O'Reilly 63
NY Islanders J. Tavares 72
Goals Player  
Buffalo J. Eichel 26
NY Islanders J. Tavares 33
Assists Player  
Buffalo R. O'Reilly 41
NY Islanders K. Okposo 42
Saves Player  
Buffalo C. Johnson 1249
NY Islanders T. Greiss 1135
Quickchart Matchup
Buffalo Off vs  NY Islanders Def
2.41 GF
2.52 GA
29.5 Shots
30.5 Shots
48 PP
33 PK
NY Islanders Off vs  Buffalo Def
2.78 GF
2.62 GA
29.6 Shots
30.7 Shots
43 PP
38 PK