Game 4 between the Sabres and Islanders is tonight at 7:30 in New York.
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Buffalo currently leads the series 2-1 and could take both away games along with a commanding lead with a win tonight. Games 2 and 3 were very close games, though I thought the Sabres were much better in Game 3 than in 2. If the Sabres come out to play from the start, I don't think they'll have any problem.
It is interesting to see how the Isles have changed their play over the series. The first game was a complete defensive style that clearly did not work. The Sabres outshot the Isles by a large margin and achieved victory quite easily. In Games 2 and 3, the Isles played a much more open style that the Sabres have traditionally done well against. However, they have been caught being lazy on occasion and have had trouble with the strong work of players like Blake, Smyth, and Sillinger. Speaking of Sillinger, he has been completely dominating the Sabres on faceoffs. Another reason this style of play has worked ok has been the outstanding play of Rick DiPietro. However, I think this style of play will eventually get the Islanders in trouble before the series is over. Buffalo will take advantage of the open ice and finish their opportunities.
Game 4 should be another tight game. I don't see this being the game where the Sabres have an offensive explosion. It is too important for the Isles to win a home game and even the series. One thing working in the Sabres favor right now is increasing chemistry. For the first couple games of this series, it looked like the lines had lost chemistry with the additions of Connolly and Afinogenov. However, in Game 3, I was impressed by all 4 lines at different times. Moving Stafford to Drury's line has sparked his play, and Kotalik had more of an impact than I expected on the 4th line with Connolly and Mair. It'll be close, but I think the Sabres will pull out a win tonight:
Sabres 4-3 (Pominville, Drury, Afinogenov, Kalinin)
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