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Preview: The Boys Are Back (But Not in Town)

Sabres continue road trip vs. Islanders

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at New York Islanders Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Game #37

Buffalo Sabres (9-20-7) vs. NY Islanders (19-13-4)

Season Series: 10/7 - Islanders 6, Sabres 3

Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. EST |


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Isles blog: Lighthouse Hockey

What to Watch

1. Returning from break.

With three days between games, the Sabres return to action tonight in Brooklyn to face the Islanders for the second time this season. Following tonight's game, the team has just one more game remaining in the 2017 calendar year, a Friday tilt with the Devils.

2. An anniversary, of sorts.

Today is a special day for Buffalo Sabres forward Jason Pominville, as it's 14 years to the day that he made his NHL debut - also with the Sabres. Of course, those 14 years were an adventure for Pommers and the Sabres, but the fact that he's circled back to Buffalo is undeniably special.

3. O'Reilly back in the lineup.

Ryan O'Reilly is expected to be back in the lineup for the Sabres tonight against the Islanders as he joined the team for the morning skate. O'Reilly missed Saturday's game in Carolina for the birth of his son - congrats to the family!

Know Your Opponent

1. Tavares isn't the only talent.

Yes, John Tavares is certainly a player to watch out for tonight. He's registered 21 goals and added 25 assists for 46 points in 36 games. But he's not the only Isles player bringing the offense this season. Right winger Josh Bailey also has 46 points, including a team-high 36 assists! Young gun Matthew Barzal is also having an impressive season with 35 points (12-23) in 36 games. And who leads the team in goals? Anders Lee, with 22.

2. On again, off again.

Like the Hurricanes the Sabres faced Saturday, the Islanders are also struggling with consistency. Since December 11, they won one, then lost two; won one, lost two, and most recently beat Winnipeg 5-2 on December 23. Overall, they're 3-5-2 in their last ten games, to the Sabres' 3-4-3 record in their last ten.

3. A few familiar names.

Former Sabres netminder Jaroslav Halak is slated to start in net tonight for the Islanders, but he's not the only familiar name on the team. Western New Yorkers might recognize Rochester native Shane Prince, who's set to be in the lineup against the Sabres tonight.

The 25-year-old Prince was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2011. He's played just two games with the Islanders this season so far after returning to the lineup following ankle surgery that kept him out for months. In five career games against Buffalo, he's registered three points, all assists, and seven shots on goal.

Projected Lineup

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart

9 Evander Kane - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo

67 Benoit Pouliot - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 29 Jason Pominville

22 Johan Larsson - 10 Jacob Josefson - 17 Jordan Nolan

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

19 Jake McCabe - 47 Zach Bogosian

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 41 Justin Falk

4 Josh Gorges - 93 Victor Antipin

Starting Goaltender: 40 Robin Lehner