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Isles Stifle Sabres Scorers

Sabres struggles against the Islanders continue

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at New York Islanders Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Score: Sabres 1 | Islanders 4

Shots: BUF 37 | NYI 32

Buffalo Sabres Goals:

1) Okposo (Murray, Olofsson)

New York Islanders Goals:

1) Barzal (Bailey, Dobson)

2) Bellows (Greene)

3) Lee (Bellows, Barzal)

4) Dobson (Bailey, Barzal)

Minus 1: Lost and Found

The Islanders may have been missing Mat Barzal before the holiday break, but he sure showed up against the Sabres. He was a game breaker every time he touched the ice and contributed on 3 out of the Islanders’ 4 goals. No Sabre could match his speed as multiple defenders were usually needed to remove him from the puck. If the Islanders are going to salvage this season, Barzal will have to replicate this performance on a nightly basis.

Minus 2: Mental Mistakes Mount

Within the first 2 minutes of the game, a too many men penalty foreshadowed a rough night for Buffalo. On the second night of a back-to-back, there were many plays that were clearly a result of fatigue. One of the more costly sequences was on the Anders Lee powerplay goal. All four killers got caught reaching for the puck as Lee swatted in the Isles’ 3rd goal of the game. You would hope it would occur to at least one of the defenders to engage one of the best net-front scorers in the league physically and fight for the loose puck. Maybe next time.

Plus 1: Mr. Krebs is Starting to Feel It

Acting head coach Matt Ellis shuffled the lines and paired Krebs with Olofsson and Okposo. Even against the Isles suffocating defensive style, Krebs showed some flashes of his elite playmaking ability and was able to pressure defenders on the forecheck. On the lone Sabres goal, Krebs outbattled the Islanders’ penalty killers to allow Buffalo to regain possession on the power play. This immediately led to Okposo’s goal moments later. He may not have gotten a point on the play, but he was a primary cause of the powerplay tally.

Final Thoughts

Not going to lie, that could have gone better. The whole team looked tired and made some costly mistakes against a team built to limit offensive opportunities. The Islanders look poised to make a run after their horrendous start to the season. Some positives can be taken out of Thursday’s game, however: Thompson and Tuch continue to build some chemistry and Krebs looked much better than his first game. Overall, this turned into another painful game against a Isles team that has had the Sabres number the last few years.