Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders 3/4/21 Game Preview

Expected Lines

Sabres

Olofsson – Eichel – Reinhart

Hall – Staal – Okposo

Rieder – Eakin – Cozens

Skinner – Lazar – Sheahan 

Dahlin – Ristolainen

Jokiharju – Miller

Bryson – Montour 

Hutton 

Islanders 

Lee – Barzal – Eberle 

Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey

Dal Colle – Pageau – Wahlstrom 

Clutterbuck – Cizikas – Martin 

Pelech – Pulock 

Leddy – Mayfield

Greene – Dobson 

Varlomov

News and Notes

Get the first goal

The Sabres have already seen the Islanders stifling defense burn them this season. Once the Sabres are down a goal or two, the game is usually sealed. Seeing the Islanders three games in a row, the Sabres need to avoid the “here we go again” moment. Sabres are 4-1-2 when scoring first, so a strong start and finishing on their chances early is key.

The good news is the Sabres finally scored multiple 5v5 goals Tuesday night, the first time since February 23, their first game back from the unexpected COVID break. If the Sabres can compliment powerplay production with 5v5 scoring consistently against the Islanders these next three games, it will be a step in the right direction. Fixing the damage of the slow becomes more insurmountable with each passing loss.

Stop Anders Lee

Anders Lee has scored a goal in all three games against the Sabres this season. He’s lethal below the dots, especially in front of the net. He’s a big body, so if Sabres defensemen can’t box him out, it will be imperative to limit his high danger chances as much as possible. A prime example came earlier this season when Lee found himself all alone in front of the net.

Wahlstrom On Fire

Tuesday night against New Jersey, Oliver Wahlstrom sniped a wrist shot over Devils goalie Aaron Dell, extending his point streak to 5 games. After going 11th overall in 2018, Wahlstrom is in his first full season of NHL play. His 4 goals and 4 assists in 15 games might not jump off the page, but a depth scorer on a roll since the last time the Sabres played them, that’s just another threat the Sabres can not afford to take a shift off against.

In for the long Hall?

Taylor Hall had good things to say this morning when about a potential contract extension.

Prediction

My personal prediction record is probably 0-5 at this point, so let’s hope I’m wrong again. Sabres lose another close game 2-1.

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