It was a quick, back-and-forth pace for the first few minutes on the ice in tonight’s match-up at the Nassau Coliseum. Each opposing team had two very different goals for the outcome of this game: the Islanders to clinch a playoff berth with a win and the Sabres to, well, get this season over with already (and hopefully watch some rookies shine during these last few games).
Islander fans created a loud atmosphere early on and it did not take long before the home team scored their first goal of the game on a rebound shot by forward Jordan Eberle. Eberle’s 18th of the year was assisted by Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee at 7:41.
The excitement continued as Buffalo defenseman Brandon Montour tripped Islander winger Anthony Beauvillier on a breakaway, causing a penalty shot and even more raucous from the crowd. Beauvillier’s five-hole attempt was denied by Carter Hutton.
More opportunities arose throughout the remaining minutes of the period - mostly in favor of New York - but the score remained 1-0 as both teams made their way to their respective locker rooms for the first intermission. After 20 minutes, the Sabres were out-shot by the Islanders 2:1.
In the second half of the second period, Beauvillier came back again looking to bury one - this time on a pass from Devon Toews - and found success. With help from a deflection off of Lawrence Pilut’s skate, the Sabres found themselves trailing by two at 8:20.
Adding insult to injury, the home team scored yet again on a rebound, this time with just 33.2 seconds remaining in the period. Michael Dal Colle found the back of the net with help from defenseman Adam Pelech and forward Brock Nelson.
The massacre continued in the first 30 seconds of the third period as Ryan Pulock waltzed right past Jack Eichel at the point and found the back of the net with a quick wrist shot to make it 4-0.
In the midst of Islanders fans chanting ‘we want playoffs,’ their team scored another unanswered goal to make it 5-0. Credit for the goal to the left side of Hutton went to Beauvillier (again) thanks to some textbook passing from his teammates.
During their second power play of the game, the Sabres finally contributed to the scoreboard with a beautiful wrist shot from rookie Victor Olofsson, his first career NHL goal. Eichel helped make the play happen and the score read 5-1, which it would stay for the remainder of the game.
The Sabres have now lost six in a row and will look to end their losing streak tomorrow at home against the Blue Jackets. Puck drop is at 6:00 PM.
Final: Islanders 5, Sabres 1
Shots on Goal: Islanders 38 | Sabres 32
Sabres Goal Scorers: Victor Olofsson (1) (PPG)
Islanders Goal Scorers: Jordan Eberle (18), Anthony Beauvillier (17, 18), Michael Dal Colle (3), Ryan Pulock (9),
Three Stars of the Game
- Robin Lehner
- Anthony Beauvillier
- Ryan Pulock