We've finally reached the end of one of the more disappointing Sabres seasons in recent memory, and not a moment too soon. This season saw the team falter under the pressure of high expectations, trade away their captain, and turn a contentious relationship between players and fans into a full-blown poisonous argument that lasted weeks and was one of the least enjoyable discussions surrounding the team in years. Some kind of season, huh?
To add insult to injury, the Sabres final game tonight is against the New York Islanders, who have clinched a playoff spot and will be in the big dance for the first time since 2007. The Isles lost last night, but are still fighting for a better playoff position with Ottawa and the Rangers, while the Sabres are simply playing for pride, what little they have left this season. Regardless of the outcome, tonight will be the last time we get to see the blue and gold take the ice until October, so we might as well try to enjoy it.
Tonight is also Fan Appreciation Night, and the Sabres will feature 50% off all merchandise, discounted concessions, and contests all night, as well as the popular Jersey Off My Back promotion and post-game balloon drop. New this year is a component for fans at home - you'll be able to scan a QR code on your TV during the broadcast (or team website) to enter in a contest to win some big prizes. Nice to see the team doing something to reward fans who are sticking around until the bitter end this year.
(20-21-6) vs. (24-17-6)
Puck Drop - 7:00pm - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
TV - MSG | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Islanders Blog - Lighthouse Hockey (Please play nice if you're going to visit.)
The lineup should remain the same for the Sabres tonight, and Ryan Miller is expected to get the start - the 500th of his career. Should that proved true, Miller would be just the 62nd goalie in NHL history to reach the 500 start milestone.
Projected Buffalo Lines
Vanek - Hodgson - Ennis
Flynn - Porter - Ott
Hecht - Grigorenko - Stafford
Scott - Foligno - Gerbe
Ehrhoff - Sekera
Pysyk - Pardy
Weber - Ruhwedel
Goal: Ryan Miller
Scratches/Injuries: Kaleta, Myers, Leino, Sulzer