The Buffalo Sabres head off to Long Island after two days of rest and a roster that is nearly identical to the one that began the season 10-5.
They’re missing one major piece – Thomas Vanek – which makes matters a bit complicated when considering the Sabres haven’t scored three goals (without the help of an ENG) since January 13. Besides Vanek, the Sabres are finally healthy. If this season has taught Sabres fans one thing, it’s healthy changes everything.
The Sabres lost their first two contests against the Islanders this season, scoring three goals in the pair of games. It is just a microcosm of a season that has spiraled out of control in too many ways. The current lack of offense isn’t without effort. Buffalo threw everything they had at Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist. All they came up with were a few posts and two goals in two games.
Buffalo’s offensive struggles are now front and center. A rejuvenated defensive corps have been playing solid hockey and Ryan Miller appears that he has gotten himself back on track. Only the lack of offense remains the glaring shortfall with the team. I have to say that trading out some of the stale offensive pieces may be the only way to find offense on this roster.
Buffalo’s forwards vs. New York’s defense/goaltending. The Sabres have only scored three goals against the Islanders this season. Obviously that is not getting the job done. New York have experienced all sorts of problems, it is the reason they’re near the bottom of the East. Buffalo’s equal struggles, namely on offense, are the reason they’re right alongside the Isles. If Buffalo’s chances finally turn into goals, they should win with little effort. Of course, turning chances into goals has been a season-long battle.
BUF: Ryan Miller
NYI: Evgeni Nabokov