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Islanders Matinee: Sabres Part III, Life without Nabokov

When you consider the Islanders' record and the Sabres' shaky position at the outer reach of the playoff bubble, you have to think it burns the Sabres to have lost twice in the last week to this Islanders squad. That's four points, four "gotta have 'em" points in the playoff chase down the toilet. The Sabres are now three teams and eight points out of 8th in the East.

But when you consider the Isles are 11-14-4 under Jack Capuano, and 11-12-2 since the streak that canned Scott Gordon ended, and 10-6-2 since Dec. 16 -- well, the Islanders aren't exactly pushovers, and the Sabres have gotten them three times at the wrong time of the season. Expect them to come out harder this time.

Buf-handle_medium               Nyi-4stick_medium
Sabres (21-21-5) @ Islanders (15-24-7)
3 p.m. | MSG+, audio -
WRHU 88.7
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Coliseum
Living by the Sword:
Die by the Blade

I know many of you regulars will be focused on anticipation of the Jets game today. (SBN's Jets blog is at Gang Green Nation.) On that note, WebBard's weekly prospect report will be pushed back to tomorrow, because of today's game(s) and because he'll be wide awake after that game anyway.

Sorry if you got a mis-post with just a headline earlier. Technical hiccups. Nabokov theater is in the previous two threads (FanShot, recap post) This post will serve as your in-game thread today. Bring on the FIGs.

Lineup Notes

Not much to add here. Rick DiPietro gets the start. The lines from Friday night's win remain the same, with Trevor Gillies the expected scratch.

Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be a chippier atmosphere in the rematch, or the third match in nine days between these teams:

"It started getting a little bit nasty (Friday) night," Tavares said. "So I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a chippy one tomorrow. They’re going to want to come back hard and be able to get one back from us, so we have to make sure we’re ready to play."

Oh, and no Evgeni Nabokov, obviously. We'll see how that theater plays out, but either way it's status quo for today's game.

Meanwhile, Jesse Joensuu got the gamewinner for Bridgeport yesterday.

Finally, if you haven't checked out the Isles new alt-media Skates on a Plane blog, you should. As with this FanShot to their A-Mac behind-the-scenes coverage.

FIG Standings

Here's the leaderboard for winners of our game by game FIG (First Islanders Goal) picks:

Anarcurt 3
IDigRcks 3
cunch punch 2
Hakker 2
19holekc 1
54_Fighting 1
Icelanders 1
isles732 1
JPinVA 1
Les Beaver 1
MartyInd 1
mayrain 1
MLong86 1
MTBVibe 1
ogam5 1
pgat28 1
quin8722 1
since70too 1
IslesinAZ 1
19 Isle in NJ 22 1
Kaonashi 1
Hockey1919 1