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New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres, Pt. 1 [Game #52 thread]

The Islanders are in Buffalo, where the goalies are fresh off the vine.

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders
All gone: This picture is sadness for everyone, but is a fair depiction of the Sabres goalie situation.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders have every reason to keep the pedal pressed firmly, if not all the way to the floor, as they visit the Buffalo Sabres for a home-and-home set.

The Isles begin the night in third place — by only a point ahead of the Bruins — and trailing the Capitals and Penguins by two and four points, respectively. The Capitals have injury and discipline concerns, so perhaps they are vulnerable as they visit the Rangers.

So, no guarantee that the Isles will move up to a home ice slot in the playoff chase even if they win all the games they should, but they at least have a chance. And it’s worth a try; you may have heard, the Isles do rather well playing at the Coliseum.

Anyway, every East Division playoff team is playing a non-playoff counterpart tonight. But none of them have as decimated of a goaltending situation as the Sabres do.

The 28-year-old American Michael Houser, an OHL product with many years of AHL and ECHL experience, will make his NHL debut for the Sabres tonight. That’s very cool, for him. That’s also the kind of situation where, if these were the old Islanders, we’d all be saying “definite shutout for the unknown goalie then.”

Instead, with a team that has now made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, only 90% of us are saying that.


In truth, I hope Houser does reasonably well, but still picks up a regulation loss, and has many stories to tell. The Isles (we think) need the points.