Preview: Islanders Face Sabres & Okposo for First Time

The New York Islanders will travel to Buffalo to meet the Sabres Friday night as they attempt to end a three-game losing streak. This will be the first time ex-Isles forward Kyle Okposo will face his former team. Okposo played more than eight full seasons with the Islanders after they selected him in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

The Islanders are going with J.F. Berube in goal. This will be Berube’s first start and second appearance of the season. The 25-year-old rookie has only played in eight games with the Islanders over the last two seasons as the club’s third goalie. The lack of playing time and practice time has to have hampered his development.

Robin Lehner will be between the pipes for the Sabres. Lehner is going for his second straight win after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 on Tuesday night.

The Sabres are finally getting healthy with Jack Eichel back in the lineup and playing well. Buffalo is still without the services of Zach Bogosian and Taylor Fedun who are practicing with the team but not quite ready to play tonight.

New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres

First Niagara Center – 7:00 PM EST

Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus, MSG-Buffalo

2016-17 Season Series: First Meeting of the Season

New York Islanders – 11-13-5 – 27 points

Road Record: 2-7-1

Hot Players: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Casey Cizikas

Key Injuries: Adam Pelech

Projected Lines:


Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey

Shane Prince – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome

Nikolay Kulemin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck

Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera


Nick Leddy – Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey – Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg

Starting Goaltender:

Jean-Francois Berube


Buffalo Sabres – 11-11-6 – 28 points

Home Record: 5-5-3

Hot Players: Rasmus Ristolainen, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo

Key Injuries: Tyler Ennis, Taylor Fedun, Cody McCormick

Projected Lines:


William Carrier – Ryan O’Reilly – Sam Reinhart

Matt Moulson – Jack Eichel – Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno – Johan Larsson – Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers – Zemgus Girgensons – Evander Kane


Jake McCabe – Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov – Cody Franson

Josh Gorges – Justin Faulk

Starting Goaltender:

Robin Lehner

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]In addition to Kyle Okposo, former Islanders forward Matt Moulson will also be in the Buffalo lineup. Moulson has enjoyed a bounce back season and already has seven goals in 28 games. Moulson has also played very well against the Islanders with five goals and six points in seven career games against his former club.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Special teams have been hurting the Islanders this season. Their penalty kill has struggled during the team’s recent three-game losing streak, allowing six power play goals in 10 chances over that stretch. The Islanders also hope their 29th ranked power play can get back on track against Buffalo’s penalty kill which is also ranked next-to-last in the league.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Islanders are playing the second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights. The Sabres are well rested and have not played since Tuesday night’s win over the Los Angeles Kings.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Jack Eichel has made a big difference for Buffalo. The Sabres are 4-2-1 since Eichel returned to the lineup and the team has scored 23 goals over that span. Eichel himself has five goals and eight points since his return.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]Anders Lee remains the Islanders hottest goal scorer. Scoring just once in his first 18 games, Lee has tallied eight goals and 10 points in his last 11 games.

This is a game the Islanders have to win if they hope to get back on track and rise in the standings. They will have to overcome inspired opponents like Okposo and Moulson, a hot young talent in Eichel, not to mention their own poor play with the puck, especially in their own zone. Berube will finally get a chance to show what he can do in this, the Islanders 30th game of the season. The Islanders poor road record and Buffalo’s strong play as of late means the Isles will have their work cut out for them tonight.