GAME RE-CAP: NY Islanders 4 Buffalo Sabres 0

 

The New York Islanders took on The Buffalo Sabres at First Niagra Center Saturday night in front of a sell out crowd. On Wednesday, Buffalo fired long time coach Lindy Ruff and hired Ron Rolston for the position. Isles big news occurred on Friday when the team placed G Rick DiPietro on waivers. 

DiPietro cleared waivers and will play in Bridgeport for the remainder of the season, in all likelihood. He will get plenty of ice time there, and we will see if he can find his game again. I have nothing against DP, but I fear this will be a tall order. Time will tell.

The Isles opened the game with the successful Tavares-Moulson-Boyes line. David Ullstrom was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. Hamonic-MacDonald started on D, and Evgeni Nabokov was in goal with Kevin Poulin as his backup.

The Islanders played a good first period with a few good chances. The Sabres had their first PP chance at 5:27 on an interference penalty against Mark Streit but could not get by Evgeni Nabokov.

The Islanders PK unit also took care of another penalty call at 10:50 of the first period.

But Isles forward Colin McDonald took an interference call on Sabres Alexander Sulzer, who left the ice with an apparent injury. The Isles PK stepped up again, and whatever got through, Nabby took care of.

It might have been the best first period for the Isles in some time. The end of the first period SOG: Islanders 13-Sabres 9. 0-0 score. The Islanders also blocked 8 shots in the first, Hamonic with 4.

Matt Moulson had a great scoring chance 30 seconds into the second period, but was denied by Ryan Miller. With the Islanders putting on the pressure early in the period, Ryan Miller kept the Sabres in the game.

Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta came after Andrew MacDonald with a late hit after the play. Unfortunately for the Sabres, Kaleta ended up injuring himself with the late check. Off to the locker room he went to join teammate Sulzer. Things were not going well for Buffalo, however the Isles could not find the back of the net.

Meanwhile, another penalty came the Islanders way. At 12:16 the Isles took a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Buffalo generated their best chances of the game on this PP. Sabres forward Drew Stafford was robbed by Nabby at point blank range.

The Isles continued their penalty troubles with another penalty, John Tavares for tripping at 15:26, and went on their fourth PK. I guess you can't score when you seem to always be on the kill. And once again, Nabokov was outstanding for his team. I can't say enough about his performance to this point in the game.

Only seconds after JT comes out of the box, the Isles are right back into the Buffalo zone after a four man rush, pressuring the Sabres. Mark Streit gets his fourth goal of the season on a beautiful pass from Matt Moulson. 1-0 Islanders at 17:51.

One minute later, Michael Grabner earns a breakaway. They tried to take him down, and there was a penalty call coming, but that was negated when he put the puck right past Ryan Miller. Now, that's the way you finish a breakaway. 2-0 Isles at 18:56.

Thomas Vanek took another penalty for the Sabres at 19:18, and the second period ended with JT asking for a goal review, but none was forthcoming.

The Isles came out for the third, continuing pressure on the PP, but were denied on this chance. That soon changed with a goal by John Tavares from Moulson and Boyes at 4:

24 of the third. At 8:50 there was an interference call on Isles defenseman Joe Finley, which was negated by Nathan Gerbe 13 seconds later for some four on four hockey. (photo:theseoduke/Flickr)

The Islanders were sloppy when playing the four on four, and as earlier, Nabby came up big! After another PP for Buffalo at 15:35, the Isles pick up another notch on their PK belt. Then Isles forward Colin McDonald scored on the the Islanders PP at 19:02 of the third on a nice play from Cizikas. 4-0 Islanders.

The end of the period was marked with a couple of scrums, and penalties to both teams. Pure frustration for Buffalo in this one. The last four seconds of the game were in the books with Nabokov getting a well deserved shutout. (photo:Amykins514/Flickr)

 

NOTES:

Evgeni Nabokov's 53rd career shutout

SOG: Buffalo 35 Isles 32

Isles PP 1 for 4

Buffalo PP 0 for 6

Three stars:

1.    Evgeni Nabokov

2.    John Tavares

3.    Michael Grabner

Islanders will be at home tomorrow vs. Carolina at 7 pm. We should get a look at Kevin Poulin for the first game of a 7 game home stand.

Please follow me on Twitter @janefisher13 and TCL @TCLIsles