Islanders Face Buffalo As Final Tune-Up Before The Playoffs

 

The New York Islanders travel west to Buffalo to face the Sabres before heading to the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
 
The Isles will start goalie Evgeni Nabokov in an effort to keep him sharp for the start of the playoffs.
 
Who the Isles face is to be determined, but not because of uncertainty at the top of Eastern Conference standings but rather the fluidity at the bottom where the Isles reside.
 
The Isles entered last night's contest in Philadelphia in sixth, but fell to eighth following their loss to the Flyers combined with Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers wins. 
 
Even with the way the night played out last night, the Isles have an opportunity to finish seventh, or even sixth depending on how the Islanders, Senators and Rangers finish their season.
 
To that point, expect the Isles to come out fighting against a Sabres team with little more than pride to play for.
 
However, never underestimate a team playing for pride. 
 
The Sabres have some quality players on their roster, led by scoring forward Thomas Vanek and standout goaltender Ryan Miller. 
 
Vanek has 20 goals and 40 points on the season and Miller is solid every year.
 
It's unclear whether Miller or Jhonas Enroth start in net tonight, but expect it to be Miller as the Sabres want to go out with a win. 
 
The big speculation here is will this be Miller's last game in a Sabres sweater? The goalie has been hung out to dry on a couple of occasions and combine that with a team facing a rebuild and tonight might be his last game for Buffalo.
 
For the visiting Isles, tonight's an opportunity to rebound from a tough loss and to go into the playoffs, no matter who they face in the playoffs, on a high note. 
 
Do they hit their first playoffs in six seasons as lions or lambs? Tonight will tell.
 

-Donovan Brooks

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