JAFFE'S MORNING SKATE

Thursday, 04.12.2007 / 12:00 AM ET / News
New York Islanders
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JAFFE\'S MORNING SKATE

By Billy Jaffe

The Islanders persevered through all the adversity at the end of the season to reach the postseason, and they deserve it. It won't be easy for the Islanders in their first-round matchup against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Buffalo Sabres, but everyone knows in the NHL playoffs anything can happen. Here's my look at the keys to the Islanders' opening Eastern Conference Quarterfinal game versus Buffalo, which can be seen on FSN NY 2 at 8:00 pm. Pre-game show starts at 7:30 pm.


1. Play relaxed
One of the problems the Islanders had against Buffalo last game, when they surrendered five goals in the first period, was that they were too cautious. They came out so worried about sitting back that they had trouble with the puck, which was over handled. The Islanders have to make good decisions with the puck and that comes with being relaxed on the ice.

2. Make them work
The Islanders have to make the Sabres work. How do they do that? They have to limit turnovers and make good decisions on the forecheck. The third forechecker for the Islanders has to have good recognition of when to help down low or help with the backcheck, because the Sabres like to rush, often using the defenseman as the third man in. That means the Islanders' fourth man back has to be aware of the third forward filling in as the fourth Sabre on the attack.

3. Protect the house
As I've mentioned before on the FSN telecasts, the "house" is the area within 15 feet of the goaltender. There's no denying the Sabres' speed, so it's going to be tough to keep up with them on the perimeter. It's important that the Islanders protect the area close to Dubie. If they can clear pucks and bodies in front, the Islanders can deal with the Sabres buzzing around the outside.

4. Short shifts
Besides their speed, the Sabres are dangerous because they have three potent offensive lines and a fourth line that does see it's fair share of ice time, meaning the forwards stay fresh. With that in mind, it's imperative that the Islanders keep their shifts short in order to maximize their effectiveness and freshness.

5. Use the emotion against Buffalo
It's going to be an emotional game, and that sometimes leads to teams playing completely different than what they're capable of. Buffalo may come out trying to put on a show in front of their home crowd, so the Islanders might be able to use that against the Sabres to sneak by with a Game One victory. The Islanders need to play a solid road game and try not to get wrapped up in the emotion.


Catch Jaffe, Howie Rose and Deb Kaufman at 7:30 pm tonight on FSN NY 2 for the Islanders pre-game show. Islanders telecasts are produced by Kevin Meininger and directed by Larry Roth. You can catch the entire series against Buffalo on FSN NY and MSG.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Bailey 3 1 3 2 4
K. Okposo 3 2 1 2 3
J. Tavares 3 1 2 3 3
R. Strome 3 2 0 1 2
B. Nelson 3 2 0 1 2
L. Visnovsky 3 0 2 4 2
C. Clutterbuck 3 1 0 1 1
C. de Haan 3 0 1 0 1
N. Leddy 3 0 1 0 1
M. Martin 3 0 1 0 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 2 1 0 .929 2.01

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