New York Islanders Lose In Buffalo 4-3 (SO)

By Kevin Cosgrove

The New York Islanders again blew a three goal lead in what was quite possibly the worst loss of their season, falling to the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night.  Goalie Kevin Poulin, called up earlier today as Jaroslav Halak was placed on IR, had a rough third period giving up 3 goals on 6 shots in the third period.  The Islanders took a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes, but were unable to clamp down defensively when it mattered most. The biggest momentum swing for the Sabres was a short-handed goal by Zemgus Girgensons at 10:01 of the third.  It was the first shorthanded goal of the year given up by the Isles and the 4th scored by Buffalo this season.  Tonight was the third time the Isles have blown a 3 goal lead and lost (all with 3 different goalies in net) and the first time they’ve lost after regulation.

Although John Tavares did score two goals, and the top line actually looked like a top line tonight, there are many more negatives to take away from tonights game than positives.  The Islanders lost the face-off battle 41-23, had fewer blocked shots (20-14) and of course gave up the short-handed goal to make it 3-2 halfway through the final period.  Then there is Kevin Poulin.  Yes, that Kevin Poulin.  The one that some fans on Twitter claim would be the end to all the Isles problems.  The one who shut out the AHL’s Providence Bruins on 34 shots less than 24 hours prior to tonight’s start.  Hardly noticed in the first, a bit shaky in the second, and exposed in the third.  That Kevin Poulin.  He ended the night giving up 3 goals on 26 shots, and while he is not totally to blame for the third period, you have to wonder what would have been with a healthy Halak in net.

Next up, the Islanders take on the red-hot Washington Capitals at home on Monday night before heading out for a swing through western Canada.  Head Coach Jack Capuano, and Isles fans everywhere, are hoping the goaltending can shore up as it is never an easy task when Ovechkin and Co. come to town.