The Buffalo Sabres were back at it tonight after a few days off with the Holiday break. Last time they were in Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders was a defensive disaster. We saw a lot of breakdowns and four shorthanded goals scored between the two clubs in the second game of the season. This time around you could see the improvement of the Sabres defensively at the very least.
The two clubs skated to a scoreless opening 20 minutes. Both teams had their chances as the pace was pretty good after some time off. The Islanders put 14 shots on Robin Lehner in the period. While the Sabres countered with 11 of their own on Jaroslav Halak.
The home team would get on the board first on an odd-man rush. Jason Chimera potted a rebound into the open cage for his second of the season. A little over six minutes later the Sabres tied things up. Jack Eichel picked up a loose puck behind the net and found Zemgus Girgensons in front for his second goal in two games. The Latvian forward was scoreless in his previous 25 games before being put on Eichel’s wing.
After being tied through 50 minutes of play the Sabres jumped in front. Kyle Okposo picked up one of the many bad rebounds from Halak and gave his team the lead with just under nine minutes remaining.
Buffalo looked to be headed towards a victory until the final minutes of the game. Zach Bogosian had a bad turnover that ended up on the stick of John Tavares. He found Justin Bailey all alone who looked to initially be robbed by the glove of Lehner. After further review, the puck did end cross the line.
Onto overtime and it was the same old same old for the Sabres. Kane had an opportunity to win the game, but Halak made a good post to post save. Just a few seconds later Matthew Barzal didn’t miss his chance and beat Lehner five-hole for the game winner.
Final Score: Islanders 3, Sabres 2 (OT)
Shots on Goal: Islanders 34 | Sabres 37
Islanders Goal Scorers: Chimera (2), Bailey (11) and Barzal (13)
Sabres Goal Scorers: Girgensons (3) and Okposo (6)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Matthew Barzal (1 G, GWG)
2. Josh Bailey (1 G, 1 A)
3. John Tavares (2 A)
Comment of the Game
The Sabres should petition the NHL ...
… for the right to skip overtime, and the shootout, to take the losers point. That could prevent a possible injury, and save the fans nightly aggravation.