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Sabres Shock Islanders with Rookie Goaltender’s Performance

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Another new goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres? No problem!

NHL: New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Score: Sabres 4 | Islanders 2

Shots: BUF 40 | NYI 36

Sabres Goals: Tage Thompson (7), Rasmus Asplund (7), Sam Reinhart (24, 25)

Islanders Goals: Adam Pelech (4), Oliver Wahlstrom (11)

Observation 1 | The Man of the Hour

Michael Houser, a 28-year old rookie, made his first career NHL start in this game. That alone should be considered impressive. Add the pressure of this game being Houser’s first professional start since March 7, 2020 against Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Houser had amassed 210 ECHL starts and 73 AHL starts prior to his NHL debut.

In the game itself, Houser was impressive. After falling down 2-0 to the New York Islanders, Houser stayed calm and kept his head in the games.

Houser’s time in the NHL might not be long but with a laundry list of Sabres goaltenders on the shelf for the remainder of the season, his cup of coffee will be a little larger than expected.

Observation 2 | Reinhart Keeps Scoring

Death, taxes and Sam Reinhart scoring goals.

In the absence of Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart has continued to play very well. Some might even say that he took his game to the next level.

Either way, with two goals on Monday night, Reinhart has now tied his career-high for goals scored in a season.

Reinhart scored 25 goals in 82 games back in the 2017-18 season. This season, Reinhart has matched the total in just 51 games.

It feels like a safe bet that Reinhart will score at least one more goal this season.

Observation 3 | Moral Victories

Despite the Buffalo Sabres being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, there is still a reason to watch - the old fashioned “moral victory”.

With a rookie goaltender between the pipes, Buffalo was able to impressively handle a 36 win New York Islanders team that currently sits fourth in the MassMutual East division.

The wins have come few and far between this season but Monday night’s moral victory is a nice little feather in the cap.