The New York Islanders visit the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night as the NHL resumes games after its three day Christmas break. The Islanders will look to improve on its 23-11-0 record, good for second in the Metropolitan Division.
The New York Islanders square off with the Buffalo Sabres in a battle of last place teams Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum as the Islanders try to rebound from their latest home ice defeat, 4 to 3 to the San Jose Sharks. The Islanders own the worst record on home ice this year, a far cry from the days of “Fort Neverlose.” (Photo credit: paul.hadsall/flickr)
Standing in their way are the Buffalo Sabres whose 46 points (19-39-8 record) have it comfortably “ahead” of the 29th place Edmonton Oilers in the race for worst record overall in the NHL and coveted top position in June’s draft lottery.
The New York Islanders returned home after a disappointing road trip, losing back-to-back games to the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators. But their losing ways would follow them back home as they fell 4-3 to the Buffalo Sabres after being defeated in the shootout.
The first period opened with the Isles controlling the play for the entire period. Although both teams had plenty of shots, the Isles led the way with a 16-11 advantage. Evgeni Nabokov had to make some key saves, but the fore-check that the Isles put on in the offensive zone eventually led to a goal from Frans Nielsen.
The Danish center-man toe dragged the puck in the high slot and let go of a wicked wrister that beat Ryan Miller just over his glove and inside the far post. The assists went to Pierre-Marc Bouchard, his first as an Islanders forward, and Josh Bailey.
Heading into Sunday night, the Flyers had allowed seven straight goals, blowing a 4-1 lead to Pittsburgh to lose 5-4 on Thursday and then getting shut-out 3-0 to the Bruins on Saturday.
Speed and an inability to have a physical presence in front of the net cost the Flyers the game on Thursday. Saturday's loss was three minutes of embarrassing hockey in which they were again out-worked.
Compound those two losses with the 4-2 loss to New York on Tuesday in which the Rangers scored three unanswered to win and the Flyers found themselves on a three-game losing streak and three games under .500.
Hosting the last-place Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, the Flyers needed to drastically change something.
(Pictured: Wayne Simmonds fights with Mike Weber in the first period after Simmonds' hit on Tyler Ennis. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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