‘The New York Islanders Hardcore’ Pregame Report:
BUFFALO SABRES vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Tonight the New York Islanders (2-2-1, 5 PTS) host the Buffalo Sabres (0-6-1, 1 PT) in game no. 6 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
When: 10/14/2013, 7:00 pm EST
Watch: MSG + (HD)
Listen: WRHU 88.7FM, WRCN 103.9FM
The Islanders limp home after suffering two road losses to the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators. In both those losses, New York suffered from periods of weak defensive zone coverage, slow transition and a sputtering offense.
Head coach Jack Capuano has taken the players to task, shuffling up the forward lines and even bringing in veteran Radek Martinek to work out with the team in practice in an effort seen by some as motivation for those already on the active roster.
Either way, this is a very important stretch of games for the Islanders, who play 6 of their next 7 games at the Nassau Coliseum, a building in which, if you remember correctly, they were just not very good last season. Establishing a dominant home ice presence is going to be key going forward for this young group.
Tonight’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabres, limp into Uniondale at 0-6-1 for the worst record in the National Hockey League. They currently reside last in offense with only 7 goals scored in those 7 games. But defensively, they have been more than adequate, ranking 14th in allowing 18 goals against (2.57 per game).
Ryan Miller, who some Islander fans wanted to see in blue and orange this season, will still be wearing blue, white and gold when he takes to the crease tonight for Buffalo. It will be Miller’s 5th start of the season and he brings a .941 save percentage with him.
It is the ultimate trap game for New York , who must not look past Buffalo this evening. For if they do, you might see more than just line juggling from the Islanders front office prior to Thursday’s game against Edmonton. There is no logical reason Buffalo should get their first win of the season tonight in Long Island.
Then again, nothing is guaranteed right? You still have to work for it.
What They’re Saying…
“You’re not going to win many games scoring one goal,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “We need our top six to step up.” Link
Here’s Jack Capuano on playing Michael Grabner alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo tonight: “With Johnny’s vision and his hockey sense, Grabs is a game-breaker and he can move. You’ve got to be first o nthe forecheck. You’ve got to have some speed to get extended zone time. We played those guys together a little bit in Nashville and last year against Tampa Bay when Moulson didn’t play, so we’ll just see how it goes and take it shift by shift.” Link
Capuano, on his plans for playing Matt Donovan: “You don’t want guys to sit too long. The more you get a young guy in, and the more he can continue to watch the video and be in our team meetings and see what we’re trying to do, it’s going to help. Matt will be back in there for sure. He gives us offense and creativity on the blue line. But sitting a game or two isn’t a bad thing for a young player.” Link
- Thomas Vanek has two goals and two assists in his last four games vs the Islanders
- Evgeni Nabokov is 3-2-1 with a 1.82 GAA in his last six starts vs Buffalo
- Buffalo has been outscored in the first period this season 9-1 and outshot 92-56
- The Islanders are 5-1-2 in their last eight home games vs Buffalo
- Buffalo leads the all-time series between the two teams 70-60-23
- John Tavares needs 5 games played to reach 300 and Travis Hamonic 12 to reach 200
40 Grabner – 91 Tavares – 21 Okposo
12 Bailey – 51 Nielsen – 96 Bouchard
26- Moulson – 16 Regin – 15 Clutterbuck
17 Martin – 53 Cizikas – 13 McDonald
47 MacDonald – 3 Hamonic
11 Visnovsky – 14 Hickey
37 Strait – 7 Carkner
Scratches: 29 Nelson – 46 Donovan
Rich Dias-Rodrigues (@RDNHL) will be covering the game live from the press box.
Please join us in the comment section below for in-game discussion and commentary.