Kukla's Korner Hockey
by @DaveDavisHockey on 02/13/11 at 02:22 PM ET
In their first game since Friday’s goonfest against Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders are in Buffalo today to take on a Sabres team that needs to win in order to end the day within three points of a playoff spot.
It’ll be interesting to see what condition emotionally the Islanders are in today, not far removed from back-to-back nights that featured a nice shootout win in Montreal and an unforgettable team bonding exercise against the Penguins.
The Sabres obviously won’t complain if New York’s balloon deflates and they come out flat, but it would be foolish to expect it. The Islanders, who have already beaten the Sabres twice in the past month, are a close-knit group that at last check still has a talented group of young forwards playing on a team with nothing to lose.
Buffalo’s game plan should center around shutting down John Tavares, who had a 4-point night on Friday and has tallied 3 goals, 3 assists, and 16 shots on goal in three games against the Sabres this season.
Ryan Miller will likely get his 31st consecutive start, and Patrick Kaleta is expected to return to the lineup from injury. The Sabres defeated the Islanders in their only day game played thus far this season, while New York is 3-3-0 in day games.
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