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Islanders Game 4 Preview at Buffalo Sabres: Lines, Best Bets, Who And How To Watch




Buffalo, NY– The New York Islanders complete the second half of a back-to-back set Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

Varlamov To Make First Start:

Semyon Varlamov will make his first start of the regular season for the Islanders against Buffalo.

“I feel ready,” Varlamov said on Friday afternoon. “I’ve done a lot of skating in the past few weeks. I’m feeling pretty good.”

Varlamov hasn’t faced live game competition since the Islanders’ preseason loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 5. After a long two-week hiatus, the first 10 minutes of tonight’s game against Buffalo will be telling of how ready he is.

“Every game is different,” Varlamov said. “Sometimes you feel good from the beginning, and sometimes it takes some time to adjust to the speed and everything. Every game is different and brings different scenarios.”

In 23 starts last season, Varlamov posted an 11-9-2 record, including two shutouts, with a .913 save percentage and 2.70 goals against average.

He last faced the Sabres on March 25, making 33 saves on 34 shot attempts in a 2-0 Islanders loss.


Through the first three games of the season, Islanders head coach Lane Lambert hasn’t varied his lines.

However, Lambert did make one change midway through the Islanders’ game last night against the New Jersey Devils by moving Anders Lee up to the first line, switching him with Simon Holmstrom.

Lambert was non-committal during pregame on whether or not he’d stick with that change or make any other to the Islanders’ lineup tonight against Buffalo.

Given that tonight is the second half of a back-to-back, it wouldn’t be surprising of Lambert to insert either Oliver Wahlstrom or Julien Gauthier into the lineup against the Sabres.

One player who will not be skating for the Islanders tonight is defenseman Scott Mayfield, as Lambert said the injured defenseman did not travel with the team.

Last Time Out:

The Islanders suffered their first defeat of the season last night at the hands of the New Jersey Devils in overtime.

Jack Hughes scored his second goal of the evening at 2:19 into the extra period to give New Jersey the extra point.

Hughes’ first goal came early in the third period on the power play and was one of four the Islanders allowed while on the penalty kill.

“You cannot make a split-second mistake,” Lambert said. That’s what happened to us. That’s inexcusable from our penalty-killing unit.”

Diminished by the loss were the performances of Horvat, Brock Nelson and Ilya Sorokin.

Nelson and Horvat each scored twice for the Islanders, while Sorokin made 29 of 30 saves at even strength, including an early candidate for save of the year.

The Opponent:

The Sabres (1-3-0) last played on Thursday, losing 4-3 to the Calgary Flames.

Through four games thus far, Rasmus Dahlin leads the Sabres with four points, while JJ Peterka paces the team with two goals.

According to Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic, Eric Comrie will make his first start of the season tonight in goal for Buffalo.

The Islanders faced the Sabres a week ago, winning 3-2 on opening night at UBS Arena.

Best Bets:

In each of their first three games this season, the Islanders have scored the opening goal. However, it’s possible they’ll come out of the gates slow against Buffalo, having played less than 24 hours ago. Betting lines are tight, which means a big payout either way. Make your pick for tonight’s first goal scorer odds presented by Draft Kings.

Who To Watch:

After a brutal performance last night, the response of the Islanders’ penalty-killing unit against the Sabres will be noteworthy regardless of the outcome. Were yesterday’s results truly just an anomaly or early signs of a potentially fatal flaw?

How To Watch:

Puck drop between the Islanders and Sabres from KeyBank Center is scheduled for just past 7 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on MSG Network and streamed on MSG+ or ESPN+ for out-of-market viewers. 88.7 FM WRHU will broadcast the radio feed of the game, which can also be heard on 1050 AM ESPN and 103.9 FM WRCN.




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