It was a 5-3 win for the boys from Buffalo at the NVMC over the Islanders. The third period did the Isles in, as the game was tied 2-2 going into that final period. However, the Sabres scored 3 goals, including an empty netter, to come away with the victory in the third of 3 meetings over the last 8 days.
After Buffalo jumped out to a quick 1 to 0 lead just 14 seconds into the game, the Isles tied the game on the first of 2 goals from Matt Moulson in the second period. However, the Sabres retook the lead again before Moulson knotted it up once more. Then, in the third, a double minor penalty to Josh Bailey for high sticking led to Nathan Gerbe scoring on the power play to give Buffalo a 3-2 lead.
The fourth goal by the Sabres was scored by Tyler Myers, though, at first, the goal did not count until it went to review and it was shown that the puck had crossed the goal line. Jack Hillen got the Isles back within 1 with his third goal of the season, but with Rick DiPietro pulled, Buffalo scored their empty net goal with 20 seconds left on the clock.
I must confess that a phone call caused me to miss most of the third period, so I can’t speak with any knowledge as to the play of the Islanders in that period. Other than the bad start and the quick goal given up off the opening face off, though, I thought the Isles played well enough to win in the first two periods. DP came up with some big saves, as the Sabres did play with a lot more intensity than they showed a times on Friday night.
In any event, with the Devils now having won 4 in a row, the Islanders only have a 2 point lead over last place in the Eastern Conference. Thus, they are going to need to start winning with more consistency and playing with better consistency. It just seems that they have “reverted” again to a situation in which a few bad plays or mental lapses are costing them games. It would be nice to go into the all star break with a few more wins under our belts. It is a trip to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to play the Penguins without Crosby or Malkin, so, perhaps, the Islanders can start by taking 2 points there.
Since it appears that Evgeni Nabokov is going to continue to act like an unprofessional child, let us hope Ricky can remain healthy the remainder of the season as well. Obviously, him returning to full form and putting the injuries behind him is what we want, regardless of Nabokov’s situation, but having a bit of a veteran “insurance policy” would surely help the Isles. Kevin Poulin has been impressive enough, yet he is best served by spending some more time in Bridgeport for the time being to develop further.