This game has all of the makings for another loss. The team is playing their second game in two days, will most likely play their backup goaltender and some on the team are suffering from flu symptoms which will most likely hamper their play. Thankfully, the Sabres are playing the Islanders tonight,
14th 11th in the Eastern Conference (hat tip to TheMetalChick for the correction) and the same team they defeated 6-3 two weeks ago.
The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in which the team looked like they were playing in first gear. They looked slow and sloppy at times and lost energy heading into the third period. Thankfully, the best player on the ice was goaltender Ryan Miller who made 31 saves on 33 shots. Tim Connolly became the Sabres hero scoring two goals including the game winner in overtime.
The Islanders are coming off of a 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals in Washington. Mark Streit scored the game winner while Dwayne Roloson made 37 saves on 40 shots. Due to Roloson playing last night, it would not surprise many if Marty Biron starts against the Sabres. Biron is 6-2-1 against the Sabres in his career with a 3.19 GAA and .905 SV%.
Keys to the Game
Sabres: Play a sound defensive game. In the past few games that Patrick Lalime has played, the defense just falls apart in front of him and leave him out to dry. Lalime is not Ryan Miller and is not going to make the spectacular save to bail out a bad defensive play. The defense needs to play a sound game in front of Lalime because the Islanders are going to have the upper hand through most of this game.
Islanders: Take charge of the game early. The Sabres are going to be tired and most likely going to be floating through this game. If the Islanders can jump out to an early lead on Lalime much like the Thrashers did, the Sabres are going to be back on their heels for most of the game and should be able to take an easy win.
Also as a note, this game is one of the Sabres HD road games so be prepared for the Islanders crew calling the game. Game time is 7:00 pm.