NEW YORK – Live from New York, it’s the Sabres and Islanders.
Here are Five Things to Know as Buffalo visits Barclays Center for a 7 p.m. faceoff.
1. It’s Ralph Macchio Bobblehead Night.
Yes, the Karate Kid will be immortalized with an interesting giveaway. Wearing an Islanders uniform and the requisite headband while doing his “crane kick” pose, Macchio will head home in bobblehead form with the first 10,000 fans.
Macchio is a Long Island native who often takes in games.
“My whole childhood was at Nassau Coliseum,” Macchio told the Islanders’ website. “Some of my greatest memories of my childhood were in that building and with this team. To have the opportunity to be honored in that way – I make a joke about it, I have like zero hockey credentials – but it should be a fun night.
“And more than nothing else I'm a Long Islander. With the move to Brooklyn it's been tough for some people, so I'm getting out there and carrying the torch for the fan base to keep us close. What was the alternative, Kansas City?
“It's very cool. It's bigger for my family than anyone else. My parents, kids, c'mon, I've got a bobblehead with a bobbleleg.”
2. Buffalo is reeling.
The Sabres are 0-1-2 in their last three games, and Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Carolina was a disaster.
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) December 23, 2016
Buffalo has all of Friday to think about it. There’s no morning skate because of travel and the back-to-back situation. Coach Dan Bylsma will speak around 5 p.m., and the players will take the ice for the pregame skate at 6:30 p.m.
3. A point continues a road streak.
While 1-0-3 is not an impressive road record, the Sabres nonetheless carry a four-game point streak into the game. If they win or reach overtime, the Sabres will pick up points in five straight road games for the first time since March 2012.
4. Familiar faces.
Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson will face their old team. It will be Okposo’s first game back in New York since signing with the Sabres on July 1. Moulson, meanwhile, has six goals and seven points in his last eight games against the Isles.
Sabres captain Brian Gionta should get to face off against his brother. The Islanders signed Stephen Gionta on Wednesday.
Bylsma will try for the fourth time to get his 300th victory. It will be against the team that gave him his first NHL coaching job. Bylsma was an assistant to Islanders coach Steve Stirling in 2005-06.
5. Islanders hot and cold.
As a team, New York is just 1-4-1 in the last five games. For some individuals, things are going well.
Forward Anders Lee has 11 goals and 14 points in his last 14 games. The defensemen are helping New York lead the NHL in blocked shots (611 in 32 games) while placing second in goals from the blue line with 20. The Isles’ defensemen have scored in 16 of the last 27 games, though not in the 3-2 loss in Buffalo last Friday.