Islanders-Sabres Preview

The New York Islanders have struggled all season, especially on

the road.

Facing the injury-riddled Buffalo Sabres may help create some

optimism.

New York seeks its fifth win in six tries against Buffalo when

the teams meet Tuesday night at First Niagara Center.

The Islanders (6-11-4), who occupy last place in the Eastern

Conference, were shut out three times during a four-game losing

streak that ended Saturday with a 3-2 win over New Jersey.

The skid marked their third of at least four games on the young

season, and their 41 goals rank last in the league.

Saturday’s win was New York’s first on the road in eight games.

It had not gone winless in its first seven on the road since

starting 0-10 with four ties away from home to begin the 1973-74

season.

Matt Moulson and Josh Bailey scored, while Michael Grabner

netted the game-winner short-handed in the third period.

Coach Jack Capuano was thankful the bounces went the Islanders’

way.

“Our guys battled,” Capuano said. “We did get some breaks

tonight. It takes a few breaks to win a game. I’m just glad they

got the two points.”

They’ve done just that four of the last five times when facing

Buffalo, which is banged up heading into this meeting.

The Sabres (13-9-1) played without nine regulars Saturday, but

they were able to end a three-game skid with a 5-1 win over

Washington.

Jhonas Enroth made 26 saves and is 3-3-1 with a 2.82

goals-against average in seven starts since Ryan Miller suffered a

concussion Nov. 12 against Boston.

In addition to Miller, Buffalo played without Robyn Regehr

(upper body), Drew Stafford (lower body), Tyler Ennis (ankle), Cody

McCormick (upper body), Brad Boyes (right leg), Patrick Kaleta

(lower body), Tyler Myers (broken wrist) and Mike Weber (upper

body).

Regehr, Stafford and Kaleta practiced Monday and hope to be

ready for Tuesday’s contest.

“It’s the longest (injury) list I’ve seen since I’ve been here,”

said coach Lindy Ruff, who has been with the team since 1997.

Luke Adam made up for the missing production, scoring twice.

“You have to play hard every night regardless if you have your

full lineup or not,” Adam said. “You can’t afford to make mistakes,

and you need everyone going every night.”

Though New York has struggled to score this season, that hasn’t

been the case in recent games against Buffalo. The Islanders have

registered at least five goals in three of the last five matchups,

including a 7-6 overtime victory Feb. 13 in the most recent

meeting.

Grabner, who scored the game-winner, and Stafford each had a hat

trick in that contest. Grabner has six goals and an assist in four

career games versus the Sabres, while Stafford has six goals and

five assists in 13 against the Islanders.

John Tavares has notched a point in seven of his eight career

contests against Buffalo, totaling six goals and five assists.

New York has won two straight road games against Buffalo, which

ended a three-game home losing streak Saturday.