Casey Cizikas and John Tavares scored a pair of goals as the New York Islanders erased the painful memories of Friday night with a 6-3 win over Buffalo.
- Buffalo Sabres 3 (0-1-1, 1 PT)
- New York Islanders 6 (1-1-0, 2 PTS)
- NHL, Final, Box Score
- Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Forget about Friday night’s embarrassing loss to Columbus. The New York Islanders sure did. A different team took the ice Saturday against Buffalo, and while they blew a big lead, they were never really in danger of losing.
Just 1:43 into the game, Eberle found Tavares streaking down the left wing all alone with a perfect cross-ice feed to open the scoring. That was all the offense we’d see in the first period, even with Buffalo having a pair of powerplay chances.
A lack of offense wasn’t an issue in the second period, with the Isles scoring three goals in less than two minutes—two of them shorthanded.
Tavares picked up his second goal of the game—and the second shorthanded goal of his career—5:13 into the period. With Scott Mayfield in the box on a double-minor for roughing, Tavares stole a lazy pass back into the defensive zone from Nathan Beaulieu, split the defense and beat Lehner with a wrist shot through the five-hole for a 2-0 lead.
Still down a man, Casey Cizikas struck 50 seconds later. Andrew Ladd used the boards to get the puck to Cizikas, who beat the defense down the ice and blasted a slapshot over Lehner’s glove for a 3-0 lead.
Josh Ho-Sang, who was serving one of Mayfield’s two penalties, beat the defense out of the box, took control of a puck that had been cleared down the ice and fed Josh Bailey, who beat Lehner with a beautiful wrist shot for a 4-0 lead with 12:57 left in the period.
That was the end of Lehner’s day, as former Islanders goalie Chad Johnson came on in relief. But the Sabres weren’t going to go down without a fight. Evander Kane scored a pair of shorthanded goals in a five-minute span to cut the lead in half, 4-2.
Ho-Sang didn’t get an assist on the Isles’ fifth goal, scored by Anthony Beauvillier, but he’s the one who got things going. He once again beat the defense to the puck and fed Cizikas, who had two shots denied by Johnson before playing the puck out to Nick Leddy from behind the net. Johnson saved Leddy’s blast but was unable to control the rebound, which Beauvillier hammered home for a 5-2 lead 5:39 into the period.
Jack Eichel cut the lead to 5-3 with 3:44 left to play and, with less than a minute to go, a crazy sequence ensued.
A scrum in front of Halak led to the Sabres thinking that Sam Reinhart had scored a powerplay goal, but the call on the ice was no-goal. Upon watching the replay, it appeared as if Halak may have reached back across the goal line to bring the puck back, but his glove obscured any clear view and the no-goal call stood.
Shortly thereafter, Cizikas chipped the puck out of the zone and found Mathew Barzal breaking out of the penalty box. With an empty net in front of him, former Islanders forward Kyle Okposo stripped the rookie, denying him his first NHL goal. Cizikas ultimately put the finishing touches on things, scoring an empty-net goal with 26 seconds remaining.
Halak saved 26-of-29 shots, while both Cizikas and Tavares were the top scorers for the Islanders, each finishing with two goals and an assist.
The Isles will look to make it two wins in a row on Monday, at home, against St. Louis. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.