It’s game day in Brooklyn as the Islanders host the Sabres at the Barclays Center (7:00 pm ET)!!!
Long-time Islander, Kyle Okposo returns to the Barclays Center for the first time since going to Buffalo in the free agency and through one game against the Islanders already (in Buffalo), he set up the Sabre’s overtime winner. In 559 games with the Islanders, Kyle Okposo had 139 goals and 230 assists. Over the summer he signed a seven-year deal with the Sabres worth $42 million. So far, Okposo has nine goals and 13 assists through 31 games with the Sabres this season.
The Islanders and Sabres have already played one of their three regular-season meetings against this season, tonight will be the second. The first game was a week ago in Buffalo where the Islanders lost 3-2 in overtime. J-F Berube made 34 saves on 37 shots in his first start of the season and Ryan Strome and Alan Quine had the Islanders’ only two goals in the loss.
John Tavares skated during practice yesterday and despite what looked like a hand or wrist injury against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, as per Newsday’s Arthur Staple, he is apparently good to go for tonight. As a precautionary move before the NHL holiday roster freeze, the Islanders signed Stephen Gionta to a two-way deal (one goal and two assists through seven games in Bridgeport) and recalled him, which you can read more about here.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 22, 2016
The Buffalo Sabres played and lost last night at home, 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. Meanwhile the Islanders won their last game 4-2 against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
As 2017 approaches, we take a look back at the last time the Islanders beat the Sabres… December 31st, 2015. Of course, there have only been two meetings between these two teams since (both won by Buffalo in overtime) but it would be nice to beat the Sabres in the calendar year of 2016.
Players to Watch:
In two career games against the Buffalo Sabres, 23 year old Alan Quine has two goals. His first game against the Sabres was his NHL debut where he was set up by Bracken Kearns on the penalty kill for his first NHL goal. His second game against them was just last week where Shane Prince slid it across to him for a power play goal, which at the time, gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
22 year old defenseman Ramus Ristolainen has three goals and 20 assists through 31 games this season for the Sabres. Two of those three goals have been scored in the team’s past four games and two of those three goals have been game-winning/go-ahead goals including the overtime winner against the Islanders last week.