NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 23rd
(All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (7-9-1) at Buffalo Sabres (6-11-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Ron Rolston will make his home debut as interim head coach
of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night, when his club plays host to the New
On Wednesday, Rolston replaced the fired Lindy Ruff, who had been the coach of
the Sabres since July 21, 1997 and was the league's longest tenured head
coach. However, he was dismissed following a 6-10-1 start, with Rolston taking
over after serving as the bench boss of the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
Buffalo began the post-Ruff era the way it ended it, suffering a third
straight setback with a 3-1 decision at Toronto.
Tyler Ennis registered a first-period goal for the Sabres, but the Maple Leafs
scored twice in the middle frame and capped the scoring with a third-period
"I thought we played well in parts of the game," Rolston said. "I didn't like
our second period. Obviously it was the turning point."
Ryan Miller gave up three goals on 35 shots in the loss, Buffalo's fifth in
The Sabres were without two of their defenseman on Thursday, with Andrej
Sekera sitting out his third straight game due to a charley horse and Jordan
Leopold missing the contest due to an upper body injury.
The Islanders will try to avoid giving Rolston his first win after they
snapped a two-game slide with Thursday's 4-3 overtime victory at the Montreal
Canadiens. It was just New York's third victory in its last 10 games.
Defenseman Thomas Hickey put home the game-winner with 1:48 on the clock, the
first goal of his career.
"This is a special place and to score in overtime and get the win, I couldn't
be happier," said the Calgary-born Hickey, the fourth overall pick of the 2007
draft by Los Angeles who was claimed off waivers from the Kings on Jan. 15.
Matt Moulson potted a pair of power-play goals, while Frans Nielsen scored the
game-tying tally midway through the third period. John Tavares had two assists
and Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves.
Nabokov should continue to see the bulk of the work for the rest of the season
after the Islanders placed Rick DiPietro on waivers Friday. Due to DiPietro's
lack of consistent health over the years, no other team is expected to put in
a claim. New York is then expected to send DiPietro to the minors.
The Isles have lost three straight to the Sabres, including a 3-2 home loss on
Feb. 9. Miller made 41 saves for Buffalo, including a game-saving stop on
Tavares on a penalty shot with 3:53 left to play.
New York has won three of its last four in Buffalo.
02/23 10:42:26 ET