Despite claiming only one point last night from the co-worst team in the league, the New York Islanders have a good chance to take three of a possible four points from this weekend to continue their status as the first wild card holders.
The Buffalo Sabres arrive on Long Island after beating the Devils in Buffalo last night, 5-4. We know their story: Lots of young talent, captained by old friend Kyle Okposo, dangerous and forever on the cusp but continually falling short, as it appears they’ll do again this season.
For a while there the Sabres were in the thick of the wild card chase, but they’re 2-6-2 over their last 10 and enter tonight six points and four teams behind the second wild card holders, the Penguins, who are also in action tonight.
Note that this is a 5:00 EDT start, and U.S. coverage is ESPN+/Hulu. Leave First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.
With no morning skate and an early start, this will also serve as our game thread. Seems reasonable to expect Semyon Varlamov to get the start after Ilya Sorokin played and gave up five last night.
Nothing’s changed for the Islanders, but it sounds like the Sabres will be without their star, Son of Brent:
Can confirm that Lukas Rousek has joined the Sabres as an emergency recall. Needed a forward with Tage Thompson dealing with an injury.— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) March 25, 2023
Jordan Greenway has also been dealing with an upper-body injury, and Vinnie Hinostroza was excused the past two days for personal reasons. https://t.co/LgrtLzIVoy
Mat Barzal is not skating, per Lambert.— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) March 25, 2023
No update on Sebastian Aho. #Isles
- Previewing tonight: The Isles are 14-5-2 vs. the Sabres over the last five seasons, so...let’s not let tonight be an outlier, okay? [Isles]
- About last night: At least they got a point, at least they came back after a couple stunners late in the second. [LHH]
- Three Takeaways: They scratched and clawed. [Isles]
- Fischler: All things considered, it was still an important point last night, one that could have slipped away if they hadn’t mounted that third-period press. [THN]
- Ex-Islander and Barry Melrose favorite Bill Muckalt aims to help lead Michigan to the NCAA title. [THN]
- The Bridgeport
Sound TigersIslanders knocked off the Baby Senators, 5-2. [B-Isles]
Last night’s other NHL scores were minimal, but the Sabres beating the Devils was noteworthy, the Avalanche beating the Coyotes was routine.
- How did former Sabre Linus Ullmark go from being an okay goalie to a Vezina candidate on the best team in the league? Embracing a new approach in net made a big difference. [NHL]
- The Senators have lost Jakob Chychrun for “a couple of weeks.” [NHL]
- Coyotes minority owner Andrew Barroway, arrested and charged with domestic violence against his wife, has been suspended by the league. [Sportsnet | NHL]
- You may have noticed last night, the Blue Jackets are without Patrik Laine for 2-4 weeks. [NHL]
- Logan Thompson made 37 saves for Vegas before leaving with another injury. [NHL]
- Relive the best moments from the Crosby vs. Ovechkin rivalry, if that’s your thing. [TSN]
- Nazem Kadri says his relationship with Darryl Sutter is “fine,” and you should totally believe him. [TSN]
- U.S. President Biden is cool with Canada...except he doesn’t like the Leafs. [Sportsnet]