Sabres vs. Islanders preview
blog by Dan Ludwig • November 29, 2011 @ 7:00am
Well, that was a fast two months. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like just yesterday that we previewed the Sabres season. Now, with 23 games under their belt, the Buffalo Sabres (13-9-1) wrap up their November schedule with a 7:00 p.m. face-off against the New York Islanders (6-11-4) at First Niagara Center (MSG).
As their record might indicate, the Islanders have had a less than stellar start to the 2011-2012 campaign—they sit at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, and their six wins on the season marks the lowest win total in the Eastern Conference. Part of the Islanders’ struggles may be due to the revolving door at the goaltender position. With four different goalies starting games this year, the Islanders have fallen a long way from their idealistic goaltender plans in 2006.
The sole bright spot for New York has been the play of youngster John Tavares. At 21 years old, Tavares leads his team in scoring with 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists). Apparently, the former number one draft pick is paying dividends for New York.
On the other side of the puck, the Sabres continue to frustrate their fans with inconsistent play. After suffering a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 25, Buffalo responded the next day with a 5-1 win of their own against the Washington Capitals, snapping a three-game losing streak. What is even more mysterious is that the win against Washington came without nine of the Sabres’ regular players. While it is nice to see Buffalo be able to substitute personnel and still get a win, the contrast between the team’s performance on Friday and Saturday is infuriatingly confusing.
This is the first of four match-ups between the Sabres and Islanders this season. Although records do not indicate everything, it is important that Buffalo does not “play down” to the level of a lower team—a problem that sometimes haunts the Sabres (as evidenced by Columbus’ beat-down of the Sabres).