NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 13th (All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (33-37-11) at Buffalo Sabres (21-51-9), 5 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders will try to cap their regular season with an unbeaten three-game road trip on Sunday evening when they visit the Buffalo Sabres.
The Islanders opened the swing with a shutout victory over the Montreal Canadiens, then outlasted the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night. Josh Bailey and Ryan Strome both used spin-o-rama moves to score in the tiebreaker, while Anders Nilsson stopped 1-of-2 skaters he faced.
After New York's Frans Nielsen and Damien Brunner exchanged markers to open the shootout, Bailey charged down the right side and cut in front before spinning around and backhanding the disc past Martin Brodeur to put the Islanders on top.
Jaromir Jagr then had the puck roll off his stick at the other end before Strome, who potted a power-play goal 19 seconds into the third to tie the game, skated down the left side and used the same move as Bailey to beat Brodeur and send the Devils to their 17th straight shootout lost, extending an NHL record.
"When you get into the shootout it's about skills competition and they do what they do," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "Obviously against a great goaltender (like Brodeur) it's tough to beat him any other way."
Anders Lee supplied New York's other goal, Nielsen assisted on both tallies and Nilsson stopped 25 shots as the Islanders moved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.
The Islanders defeated the Sabres 4-1 at home in the most recent encounter on March 15 for just their second victory in the past seven meetings. Nielsen and Strome both scored and Nilsson ended with 33 saves.
The Sabres limp into Sunday's finale having lost another five players to injury in yesterday's 4-1 setback to the Boston Bruins. That included the loss of goaltender Matt Hackett, who had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher midway through the third period.
Boston's Torey Krug was charging toward the net and was checked into the crease before falling onto the outstretched right leg of the goaltender with 11:35 remaining in the contest. Hackett, who had made 20 saves, remained on the ice and was immobilized before being lifted onto a stretcher and carted into the locker room.
The Sabres said after the game that Hackett never left the arena and was set to return to Buffalo with the team, although the initial prognosis was not a positive one.
"It doesn't look good right now," said Sabres coach Ted Nolan. "We'll wrap him up as best we can, get him back home, have our doctors look at him."
Connor Knapp replaced Hackett to make his NHL debut and became the sixth different Buffalo goaltender to see action this season. He stopped six shots in relief.
Nolan also said defenseman Christian Ehrhoff suffered a mild concussion, while forwards Chris Stewart, Brian Flynn and Matt D'Agostini all sustained lower- body injuries. None are expected to play today.
Cody Hodgson scored the lone goal for the Sabres, who have lost six in a row and 17 of their last 19. Buffalo will finish the season with the fewest points in the NHL, currently at 51.
04/13 10:49:48 ET