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Preview: Sabres head to Long Island

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Buffalo faces NY Islanders in Saturday evening tilt

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Game 78

Buffalo Sabres (31-37-9) vs. New York Islanders (45-26-7)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | Nassau Coliseum | Uniondale, NY

TV: MSG-B, MSG+

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Islanders Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

Know Your Opponent

New York Islanders

Record: 45-26-7

Last 10: 6-4-0

Division Ranking: 2nd in the Metropolitan Division

Conference Ranking: 5th in the Eastern Conference

PP: 14.7% (29th)

PK: 80.1% (18th)

What to Watch

1. Back to Back

As we head into the final stretch of the 2018-19 season, tonight’s game opens up a set of back-to-back games for the Buffalo Sabres. It’s also the final meeting of the season between the Sabres and the Islanders, with Buffalo on the cusp of winning the season series.

The Sabres are 7-7-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets so far this season, and tonight’s game will certainly be a challenge with how good the Islanders are this year.

2. Old Friends

Kyle Okposo spent much of his career in an Islanders uniform and played at Nassau Coliseum, so it’ll be a nice little homecoming for him tonight. The Islanders returned to Nassau earlier this season, splitting the schedule between their newly-renovated “old” rink and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Tonight’s game is one of 21 home games this season that the Islanders are playing at Nassau.

On the flip side of things, the Sabres will face their old goaltender Robin Lehner, who recently had some less-than-stellar things to say about Buffalo sports media’s negativity.

3. Injuries & Illnesses

The Sabres are still missing several players head into Saturday night’s game. Rasmus Ristolainen remains out and has reportedly lost some weight due to an illness. Zach Bogosian: out. Jake McCabe: out. Evan Rodrigues: out.

With that, expect to see guys like Lawrence Pilut, Will Borgen, Victor Olofsson and Alexander Nylander in the lineup once again.

Buffalo Sabres (projected)

Forwards

Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Casey Mittelstadt - Jason Pominville

Conor Sheary - Vladimir Sobotka - Alex Nylander

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Will Borgen

Lawrence Pilut - Brandon Montour

Marco Scandella - Casey Nelson

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (projected)

New York Islanders (projected)

Forwards (projected)

Anders Lee - Matthew Barzal - Jordan Eberle

Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Michael Dal Colle

Anthony Beauvillier - Leo Komarov - Tom Kuhnhackl

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Defense (projected)

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews - Scott Mayfield

Starting Goaltender: Robin Lehner (projected)