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New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres: Moulson de-scratched, Halak on the way back

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No party without two points.

Good luck to you (but not tonight).
Good luck to you (but not tonight).
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders are in Buffalo tonight to continue an annual tradition of being rude guests on New Year's Eve.

Their recent history is one of Dec. 31 victories, winning their last four, three of them on the road (5-2 win in Winnipeg in 2014, 5-3 win in Boston in 2013, locked out in 2012, 4-1 afternoon home win over the Oilers in 2011, 4-3 OT win in Detroit in 2010...the last loss was 3-2 via shootout in Ottawa in 2009.)

Around the world, they say everyone should spend New Year's Eve in New York at least once in their life; they just don't necessarily mean Buffalo, N.Y.

Islanders (20-12-5, 3rd/Metro) @ Sabres (15-18-4, 8th/New Atlantic)
6 p.m. EST | MSG+, radio
[a bank, probably] Center
Buffing up for the party: Die By The Blade

The Isles will bring their same lineup as in Tuesday's 6-3 win in Toronto, including Thomas Greiss in goal. (Jaroslav Halak is back with the team and practiced this morning, but one suspects that was more for what happens after this game.)

In the opposite goal, the Sabres will start Linus Ullmark, who confounded the Isles in Buffalo's 2-1 win back on Nov. 1. They also restore Matt Moulson to the lineup; the struggling ex-Isle was a healthy scratch last night in Washington, but Tyler Ennis left that game with an injury, leaving Dan Bylsma an easy decision on how to bring Moulson back.

Moulson tied that game at 1-1 in the third period with his fourth goal of the season. He hasn't scored since. (And tonight, he's expected on the fourth line.)

So the Isles have a recent history of leaving us happy before we head to our New Year's Eve festivities and ring in another turn of the calendar. They have a nice opportunity to do it again against an opponent that played and traveled last night. But this has been The Week of Ex-Islander Goals tour, with Michael Grabner, Brad Boyes and P.A. Parenteau each taking turns reminding us once was.

A win would put the Isles back over the Rangers in the chase for Runner-Up To Washington in the Metro. A shootout/OT loss ties them, with each NYC team ending 2015 with 38 games in the book.

However it goes, thanks for watching, reading and commenting with us all season, all year, and for some of you, nearly all decade. Have a great transition into 2016, which will be the {gulp} ninth year of Lighthouse Hockey.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight over this way. Get 'em in before 6 p.m. gametime. If you pick Moulson, it doesn't count.