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Off to Buffalo: Morning after means more hockey

No time to savor snapping the losing streak -- the Islanders must get right back at it in Buffalo tonight. The teams' post-Christmas celebrations were quite a contrast: The Isles welcoming back Rick DiPietro and congratulating Bill Guerin on goals #399 and 400 in an uplifting win; the Sabres looking sluggish in a loss in D.C.

Oldnyi_medium Buf-eye_medium

New York Islanders (11-21-3, 30th) at Buffalo Sabres (16-14-5, 11th, East)

7 p.m. EST | [Many Letters of Scotland] Arena | MSG+

Sabres blog: Die by the Blade

But the Islanders don't have Alex Ovechkin, who struck again with another highlight goal (video via The Program) last night against the Sabres. Nonetheless, the last time the Islanders played in Buffalo, they took the win amid happier times.


Final - 11.22.2008 1 2 3 Total
New York Islanders 1 1 2 4
Buffalo Sabres 1 0 1 2

Complete Coverage >


So who knows which version of either team will show up tonight? In net, surely Scott Gordon will play it safe and go with Joey MacDonald, right? To protect DiPietro from back-to-back nights after a two-month layoff that included no AHL rehab stint, right? RIGHT?

In the Sabres' net, unfortunately Patrick Lalime drew the assignment last night in Washington, so expect to see Ryan Miller.

As per usual, the Islanders will have to make a lineup change, this time for Andy Hilbert, whose foot was broken on that shot block last night. When the Earth stops spinning for a moment, I'll go back and check how many times the Islanders have had the same lineup on consecutive nights this season, because it feels like it's never happened.

But no crying in hockey: The Sabres have some significant injuries themselves:


Buffalo Sabres Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jochen Hecht ear 12.26.2008

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Tim Connolly broken rib 11.15.2008
Nathan Gerbe upper body 12.16.2008
Craig Rivet shoulder 12.14.2008

Now, let's win two.