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NHL Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Islanders

Written by Michael Gordon   
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 08:25

Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Islanders PicksBetting Sites Overview
There is a three-way tie for worst team in the Eastern Conference of the NHL that includes the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders. The team that should be most likely to pull out of the basement is the Carolina Hurricanes, so long as Carolina learns how to play defense. But the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders have a lot of things that need to be fixed before either team can move forward. The Islanders and Sabres are very similar teams in that a lot of money was spent to put these teams together but both teams are severe underachievers. The sports fans in New York are paying a lot more attention to the Superbowl betting than they are either of these two hockey teams.

The Islanders signed goaltender Rick DiPietro to one of the longest and most lucrative contracts in NHL history, and DiPietro has spent most of his time since signing that contract injured or benched.

The Islanders brought in former San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to try and pick up the goaltending slack that DiPietro is leaving behind. Some nights Nabokov looks like the best move the Islanders ever made, and other nights he looks like he is no longer an NHL caliber goaltender. The Sabres have been giving goaltender Ryan Miller a chance to re-establish himself as the starter in Buffalo, but Miller is having the worst season of his career and he is taking the Sabres down with him.

New York Islanders
The price per head sports experts point at the Islanders has having serious problems on offense and defense. New York is at the bottom of the league in goals scored and at the top of the league in goals allowed. New York has been cycling through goaltenders and defensemen for years and cannot seem to find a consistent lineup that will go out and help the team win games. The inability of the Islanders to play defense is what is causing the forwards to have to constantly come back and cover the defensive zone. Until the Islanders straighten out its backline, it will not be able to mount any kind of sustained offensive attack.

Buffalo Sabres
A 5 dimes review of all of the stats that the Sabres have generated shows that one stat stands above them all as one of the key issues for the Sabres this season. Ryan Miller’s 3.07 goals against average is the worst since he became the starter and the worst of his career in any season where he has started 10 or more games. The Sabres can no longer count on the steady play of Miller, and the team is also feeling the effects of a long string of injuries to key players. But the Sabres also lack any energy on the ice as the team is often seen standing flat-footed as the opposition skates around them. The Islanders can skate, and that could be a big problem for the Sabres.

The Bottom Line
If the Islanders and the Sabres are going to make a meaningful move in the NHL standings, then it needs to happen now. Neither of these teams seems destined for the playoffs, but neither of these teams should be considered completely out off the playoff hunt either.

BSN Sports Free Pick: New York Islanders

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