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Islanders vs. Sabres: Best team in Eastern Division win again (Highlight)

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 06: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his goal at 3:51 of the second period against Carter Hutton #40 of the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum on March 06, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 06: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his goal at 3:51 of the second period against Carter Hutton #40 of the Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum on March 06, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Things are not going well for the Buffalo Sabres. It’s tough to watch because New York Islanders fans know all too well what it’s like to be in this position. But the Isles have a job to do and that’s win games, regardless of how bad things are for the team they face.

And while things immediately got off to a rocky start with the Sabres getting a lucky break just seconds into the game, the Islanders took over the rest of the way and never looked back.

New York Islanders take fourth straight victory

With a 5-2 victory over the Sabres, the Isles take their fourth-straight win and a seven-game point streak. That run has reversed their fate from just a month ago when they were at the bottom of the MassMutual Eastern Division and now sit two points clear at the top of the standings.

The key? Getting contributions from the entirety of the lineup. Starting with the top line and their star player.

Mathew Barzal has been as advertised this season, the 23-year-old signed a three-year $21 million ($7 million AAV) deal in the offseason and is playing well above his pay grade. Today, after a slow start to the game, the Isles young center, who was on pace for a 29 goal year (over 82 games) entering today’s game, pushed that pace to 31 goals with this incredible between-the-legs tally.

That goal seemed to have absolutely killed the Sabres as the Islanders would go and add three goals for a four-goal second period. That’s a big deal for the Islanders who’ve been terrible in the second with 12 goals for and 21 goals against in the second frame this season.

Those four second-period goals would come from the top line (Mathew Barzal), the fourth line (Cal Clutterbuck), from the back end (Scott Mayfield), and from the second line (Brock Nelson).

Brock’s goal is only his second at five-on-five this year. That’s back-to-back games with goals from the second line which has been absent for the first part of the year.

It’s two 5-2 wins in a row now for this team who’s long been considered one of the worst offensive teams in the league. With those ten goals in two games, the Isles are up to the top half of the goals-for table.

Winners

Mathew Barzal (1G, 1A, 5SOG): What a goal and what a game for Barzal.
Scott Mayfield (1G, 1A): Scott had a great game today even before you consider his two points.
Anders Lee (1G, 3SOG): The Captain put in one heck of a performance today and absorbed a lot of physical abuse in front of the goal.

Losers

Jeff Skinner (3SOG): Two breakaways and couldn’t get a single one to go. The $9 million player is still looking for his first goal of the year.
Rasmus Ristolainen (-1, 4 Hits): The big defender got absolutely embarrassed by Barzal today.
Eric Staal (-2, 2GVA): The veteran center isn’t performing for the Sabres who really need his leadership.

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