By John Vogl
The playoff race in the Eastern Conference is over as far which eight teams will advance, but the seedings still need to sprout. That means the Islanders have a lot more to play for tonight than the Sabres.
Buffalo will finish its disappointing season with Fan Appreciation Night in First Niagara Center. The Islanders will try to give their fans a favorable postseason matchup.
New York is eighth in the East, but it has the same number of points (54) as sixth-place Ottawa and the seventh-place Rangers. The two teams from New York each have one game left, while the Senators play twice.
The Isles will want to win to give themselves the highest seed possible.
"They’re in a three-way tie right now from sixth to eighth, so they’re going to determine who they play here in the first round with tonight’s game and how they finish," Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said after the morning skate. "I’m assuming they want these points."
They'll go for them against goaltender Ryan Miller, who will make the start in his 500th NHL game.
As for the rest of the Sabres, they want to leave with a little pride in their final appearance.
"Just try to finish strong," center Cody Hodgson said. "I’m just trying to make sure I play well tonight, give the fans that are here a good experience."
The organization says every fan will go home with a special giveaway. Merchandise in the Sabres Store will be 50 percent off, and there will be discount prices on select concessions. Fans watching from home will get a chance to win a 40-inch television, an iPad mini and an autographed Steve Ott jersey. Info is available here.
taggedNew York Islanders