Uniondale, NY- The New York Islanders (15-25-7) fell to the Buffalo Sabres (22-21-5) by the score of 5-3 in hockey action on Sunday afternoon. On the day that the news of newly acquired keeper Evgeni Nabokov’s not reporting to the team, the Islanders bad luck continued with another slow start.
“A start like that is unacceptable,” said head coach Jack Capuano after the game. “The guys have to be prepared and they have to execute if they want to win.”
John Tavares would have this to say of the loss, “It was a tough one for us today, a slow start but we batted to get our way back into the game.” He would continue by saying. “We have got to make the hard plays early in the game, you have got to get the pucks in deep and get your legs going.”
The Sabres were able to strike for their first goal early on in the beginning of the game as at the 0:15 mark, Paul Gaustad (5) was able to tip-in a 10 foot shot, which was assisted by Rob Niedermayer (9) and Mike Grier (9) for the 1-0 lead.
New York would find many golden opportunities during the later parts of the first period including a nice 12 foot tip-in shoot from Michael Grabner at the 13:11 mark, but that shot would be denied by Buffalo keeper Ryan Miller. The Sabres keeper denied another nice opportunity for the Islanders at the 14:45 mark, as Rob Schremp tried for a 25 foot wrister.
“We had some chances around their zone tonight and left a lot of rebounded shots out there,” said Capuano.
Winger Matt Moulson would agree with his coach saying, “We need to cash in on more of those opportunities that we had today in order to get this team wins.”
The horn would sound on the two squads to end the first period of play with the Sabres holding onto the 1-0 lead, while both teams were tied with shots at 10 each.
Moulson would get the Islanders on the board at the 1:15 mark of the second period, taking advantage of a golden power play opportunity. Buffalo would have to serve a 2:00 delay of game call at the 0:14 mark for delaying the game that would give the Islanders that opportunity. Moulson (16) would then rip a 10 foot snap shot, which was assisted by John Tavares (17) to tie the game up at 1-1.
Buffalo would break that tie at the 4:58 mark as Tyler Ennis would record a 12 foot backhander, which was assisted by Jochen Hecht (12) and Jason Pominville (16) to give the Sabres the 2-1 lead. The Islanders would have a flurry of shots in about a minute of time as P.A. Parenteau, John Tavares and Matt Moulson all had good shots at the net. Sadly for the 10,120 in attendance Buffalo keeper Ryan Miller was up to the task of stopping all three attempts.
The Islanders would eventually find the game tying goal as Moulson (17) would strike for the second time in the game at the 13:27 mark. The winger would cash in on an 11 foot tip-in shot, which was assisted by P.A. Parenteau (18) and John Tavares (18) to make the game 2-2.
Tavares would have this to say of his line-mates after the game, “Everyone knows what Moulson and I can do, but now P.A. is fitting into our line nicely. We are getting along really nicely now, we think the same way on offense and can read each other really well.”
Blake Comeau tried his best attempt at the third Islanders goal at the 15:46 mark trying for a 41 foot slap shot, but that would be smothered by Ryan Miller. Moulson would try for the hat trick at the 17:24 mark on a 47 foot slap shot, but Miller was up to smothering that shot as well. The game would stay tied at 2-2 as the horn sounded to end the second period of play as the Islanders would have a 27-15 shots advantage.
New York would have a tough task ahead of them as the third period began as they would continue to kill off a four minute double minor by Josh Bailey that was assessed at the 18:07 of the second period. In spite of a solid kill by the Islanders, it would turn out that the Sabres would strike for their third goal.
Center Nathan Gerbe (6) would tally the 16 foot snap shot that was set up by Tyler Ennis (15) and Tyler Myers (14) at the 1:48 mark of the third period of play, that gave the Sabres the 3-2 lead. Buffalo would add to their lead, on a reviewed goal at the 3:53 mark. It had seemed as first the Tyler Myers (6) nine foot tip in was denied by Islanders keeper Rick DiPietro, but after further review the officials would reverse the decision giving the Sabres the 4-2 lead.
“I honestly don’t know what happened there,” said keeper Rick DiPietro. “I made the first save on Myers, after that things were crazy. Those goals definitely gave them the momentum that they needed.”
Comeau would try for another attempt at the net on a nice 44 foot slap shot at the 10:39 mark of that frame, but he would be denied by Ryan Miller. New York would get another good chance as Kyle Okposo tried for a 23 foot backhanded shot, but Miller was up to the task of stopping that shot.
The Islanders would not be denied as their hard work and effort paid off with their third goal of the game. It was at the 16:37 mark as Jack Hillen (3) netted a 56 foot wrister, which was set up by Michael Grabner (5) and Frans Nielsen (15) which cut the Buffalo lead to 4-3.
Buffalo would have one last goal which would seal their victory as at the 19:36 mark Jason Pominville (11) recorded a 60 foot wrister that was set up by Steve Montador (11) and Jordan Leopold (17), to give the Sabres the 5-3 victory.
Miller would finish the night with 31 saves in the cage for Buffalo, while Rick DiPietro would have 18 saves in the net for the Islanders.
“We worked hard out there today,” said DiPietro of his teammates. “I thought we put a lot of good pressure in the offensive zone and battled throughout the entire game.”
New York will now head to Pittsburgh for a 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night face-off with the Penguins, before hosting the Carolina Hurricanes for a 7:00 p.m. tilt on Wednesday night.
Nabakov note: Just about every Islander in the locker room after the game said that they would welcome the newly acquired Evgeni Nabokov to the team. No decision has been made on the Islanders end on what the team will do now that keeper has decided to not report.