NHL Hockey

2
Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Buffalo 0 1 1 0 2
NY Islanders 1 0 1 1 3
3
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 BRT, December 14, 2019
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York  Attendance: 13,795

Sabres, Islanders ride momentum into New York matchup

Buffalo Sabres at New York Islanders

  1. Semyon Varlamov stopped 22 shots in the Islanders' 1-0 victory at Buffalo on November 2 to improve to 8-2-1 with a 2.07 GAA in 11 career starts against the Sabres. New York has limited the Sabres to 17 goals while winning seven of the last nine meetings overall and is 10-3-3 in its last 16 visits to Buffalo.
  2. Buffalo tied a season high with its third consecutive win Thursday as Jack Eichel scored twice in the second period in a 4-3 victory over Nashville. The Sabres have gone 5-1-3 in their last nine games after losing four of five.
  3. The Islanders completed a three-game road trip with a 2-1-0 mark after a 3-1 win over the Panthers on Thursday. New York is 11-0-1 in its last 12 home games for its longest home point streak since a franchise record-tying 23-game run in 1981-82.
  4. Eichel's two goals Thursday extended his career-high point streak to 15 games (14g, 13a), matching Patrick Kane for the league's longest this season. Eichel's streak is the longest by a Sabre since Tim Connolly's 16-game run in 2009-10. Eichel leads the NHL with six multi-goal games.
  5. Anders Lee has a goal and an assist in each of his last two games and has eight points in his past seven contests after going eight consecutive games without a point. Lee's one power-play goal through 30 games is tied for the fewest of his career (2014-15).
  6. Victor Olofsson leads all rookies with 13 goals and 29 points, the most points by any Sabres rookie through 33 games since Danny Gare also had 29 in 1974-75. Olofsson has four goals and seven assists during a nine-game home point streak.

By any measure, the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres are two of the most pleasant surprises in the NHL this season. But only the Islanders will be accompanied by completely good feelings Saturday afternoon, when they host the Sabres in Uniondale, N.Y.

Both teams were off Friday after extending winning streaks on Thursday night. The Islanders ended their three-game southern road trip with a second straight win, a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. The host Sabres won their third straight game by beating the Nashville Predators, 4-3.

The three-game winning streak is the longest for the Sabres since they had a pair of three-game runs during an 8-1-1 start, after which they went 5-10-5 over the next 20 games. The current run has been enough to vault Buffalo, whose eight-season postseason drought is the longest in the NHL, into sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division.

"Obviously, when you get on a run like this and the team's playing well, you're just really trying to do the little things every night," Sabres captain Jack Eichel told reporters Thursday night after he scored two goals to extend his point streak to 15 games.

"It's rewarding. You try and take care of your end and try to be responsible and not do too much, I think good things happen."

But not all the feelings around the Sabres are positive. Canada's TSN reported Thursday that defenseman Zach Bogosian requested a trade after he was a healthy scratch against the Predators for the first time in his 12-year career.

Bogosian, who underwent hip surgery during the offseason and has three assists in 10 games since his return, said he talked to his agent, general manager Jason Botterill and head coach Ralph Krueger but declined to go into detail about the conversation or confirm whether he had requested a trade.

"Everyone wants to play," Bogosian told reporters.

"So for me, I'm just focused on working hard and getting back in the lineup. I like where my game is going. For the first time in a lot of years, I'm healthy and 100 percent, so I like where I'm going."

Few outsiders thought the Islanders could continue the surge they made last season, when they finished with 103 points under first-year head coach Barry Trotz and reached the second round of the playoffs despite losing John Tavares to free agency in the summer of 2018.

New York had another quiet offseason but has 44 points through 30 games -- tied for the fewest games played in the NHL entering Friday -- thanks to a defense that is on pace to allow the fewest goals in the league for the second straight season.

The Islanders enjoyed a franchise-record 17-game point streak from Oct. 12 through Nov. 23 but were 3-4-0 -- a span that included lopsided road losses at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings -- before outscoring the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning by a combined 8-2 in their previous two games.

"We're looking forward to getting home," Islanders captain Anders Lee said after recording a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) against the Panthers. "We did a pretty good job of taking care of business when we needed to and turning this trip around and having a good response after a big trip out west."

--Field Level Media

Updated December 13, 2019

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