Jason Pominville had a fine season debut, but the Buffalo Sabres need some of their other players to land on the scoresheet when they visit the New York Islanders on Saturday. Pominville, who is back with the Sabres after spending the last four-plus campaigns with Minnesota, scored both of the team’s goals in its season-opening 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal on Thursday.
The 34-year-old Pominville began his career with Buffalo by playing one game in 2003-04 and went on to reach the 20-goal plateau in six straight seasons before being traded to the Wild during the 2012-13 campaign. First-year coach Phil Housley is expecting a lot from the 20-year-old Jack Eichel, who signed an eight-year, $80 million contract extension on Tuesday after scoring 24 goals in each of his first two NHL campaigns. New York, which will be playing its first game at home, will be happy to see anyone get on the scoresheet after being shut out 5-0 at Columbus in its season opener on Friday. Anders Lee and captain John Tavares led the team with four shots apiece as the Islanders were outshot 37-29 and received just one power-play opportunity.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG Buffalo, MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE SABRES (0-0-1): Eight players made their debuts for the team on Thursday, with defenseman Victor Antipin appearing in his first NHL contest, while a franchise-record 10 were not on the roster last season. Pominville and backup goaltender Chad Johnson, who went 22-16-4 with one shutout and a 2.36 goals-against average in 2015-16, began their second stints with the club. Center Seth Griffith was one of the eight skating in his first game with Buffalo and notched an assist after splitting last season between Toronto and Florida.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (0-1-0): New York is hoping to avoid a start similar to last season, when it won only six of its first 20 games. “Playing well and earning points early obviously puts you in a good frame of mind and a good position going forward,” Tavares told the team’s website prior to the season opener. Jordan Eberle made his Islanders debut on Friday after being acquired from Edmonton in June and registered one shot and two hits while finishing with a minus-2 rating.
1. Pominville’s first goal on Thursday was his 457th point as a Sabre, moving him past Miroslav Satan for 11th place on the franchise list.
2. New York G Jaroslav Halak likely will start against the Sabres after stopping all 11 shots he faced Friday in relief of Thomas Greiss, who made 21 saves versus the Blue Jackets.
3. Buffalo D Zach Bogosian (lower body) missed the season opener and is questionable for Saturday.
PREDICTION: Sabres 4, Islanders 2