Looking up: Islanders, Sabres clash in Buffalo

A pair of last-place teams will meet for the final time this season, as the New York Islanders head north to visit the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.

Although the Islanders are last in the Atlantic Division and Buffalo is in the basement of the Northeast, neither team is out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. New York is currently six points out of a postseason berth and the Sabres are one point further back.

The Isles won the first two meetings of the year against Buffalo, but the Sabres bounced back with a 4-3 shootout victory on Feb. 4 at Nassau Coliseum. That victory ended New York's three-game winning streak in this series, but the Sabres have still lost three in a row against the Isles on home ice.

Buffalo had lost four in a row before stunning the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins with a 6-2 rout on Sunday. Derek Roy tallied twice to go with an assist and Jason Pominville lit the lamp and dished out two assists to help the Sabres roll past the Penguins.

Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis also netted goals for the Sabres, who got 24 saves from Ryan Miller. Christian Ehrhoff added three assists.

"Leads are so tough to get that once you do get them, you got to do a good job with them. And I thought tonight we did real good," Pominville said.

Buffalo, which is playing the third test of a four-game homestand tonight, ended a three-game home slide and improved its record at the First Niagara Center to 14-11-7.

The Islanders were in action Monday afternoon against Ottawa and were dealt a 6-0 loss by the visiting Senators. It marked the ninth time New York has been shut out this season and dropped the Isles' record to 4-4-1 in their last nine trips to the ice.

Erik Karlsson totaled four points on two goals and two assists as Ottawa chased Isles goaltender Kevin Poulin before the game was two minutes old. Poulin was yanked after allowing scores 27 seconds apart to Karlsson and Jason Spezza in the first 1:35 of action. Al Montoya finished the contest by giving up four goals on 27 shots for the Islanders

"There was zero intensity in our game," Islanders defenseman Mark Streit said. "We can't start a game like that, down two goals right away. We didn't find a way to respond and get back in the game."

New York's No. 1 netminder Evgeni Nabokov has missed the last three games with flu-like symptoms and did not make the trip to Buffalo.

The Isles are 12-12-3 as the road team this year. They will be back at home on Friday when they host the rival New York Rangers.