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Preview: Sabres host the first place Islanders

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The surprising Islanders make their second visit to Buffalo

NHL: New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 56

Buffalo Sabres (27-22-6) vs New York Islanders (33-16-6)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Islanders blog: Lighthouse Hockey

Know Your Opponent

New York Islanders

Record: (33-16-6) | 72 points

Last 10: 7-1-2

Division Ranking: 1st in Metro Division

Conference Ranking: 2nd in the Eastern Conference

PP: 27th (16.1%)

PK: 17th (80.0%)

What to Watch

1. Headed in the opposite direction

Tonight is a matchup of two hockey clubs that have gone in different directions since the beginning of December. The New York Islanders have flew up the standings and currently sit atop the Metro Division by five points.

The Sabres on the other hand have slid down the standings and find themselves 11 points behind the Islanders in the standings. At one point a few months ago they were up eight points in the standings on the Isles. Now, the Sabres are battling for their playoff lives and the Islanders are on cruise control to the postseason.

2. Capitalize on the Chances

The Islanders are good in their own end of the ice. They don’t give up a lot of opportunities and are top-10 in the league in the least amount of shots allowed. The Sabres will need to capitalize on their opportunities when they present themselves tonight to have a chance to pull out two points.

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville

Conor Sheary - Casey Mittelstadt- Sam Reinhart

Vladimir Sobotka - Evan Rodrigues - Tage Thompson

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Marco Scandella - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Matt Hunwick

Lawrence Pilut - Jake McCabe

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark

New York Islanders

Forwards

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Jordan Eberle

Michael Dal Colle - Mathew Barzal - Josh Bailey

Anthony Beauvillier - Val Filppula - Leo Komarov

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Tom Kuhnackl

Defense

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews - Scott Mayfield

Starting Goaltender: Robin Lehner (unconfirmed)