Four different Islanders lit the lamp, and Evgeni Nabokov made 35 saves for his 53rd career shutout as the Islanders blanked the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 Saturday at First Niagara Center.
Nabokov made 26 saves in the second and third periods, including 10 shots on Sabres power plays as the Islanders penalty kill went 6-for-6. With the win, the Islanders improve to 8-9-1
"Nabby was really good tonight," Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. "We were out there for an extended period of time, we had a couple of guys who broke sticks, but he made some big saves. They've got some key weapons on their power play unit and he came up big for us."
Nabokov made several highlight-worthy saves during the second period, using his glove as the weapon of choice. On one sequence, he made back-to-back stops on Nathan Gerbe and Drew Stafford, sliding from side-to-side in the process. Later in the frame, he stopped an attempt by Tyler Ennis in front and gloved Stafford's rebound opportunity, keeping Buffalo off the board.
"I just play and react," Nabokov said. "I don't go, 'The night is going good,' or 'The night is going bad.' I don't think that way. I just try to be ready for the next shot and keep going. I don't want to think too much out there."
Mark Streit broke the deadlock at 17:51 of the second period with his fourth goal of the season. During a 4-on-2 rush, Matt Moulson threaded a pass through a pair of defenders to find the captain coming down the left side. Streit had an easy angle to shoot, as Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was out from his crease playing the angle on Moulson.
A minute later, Michael Grabner intercepted a pass just inside the Islanders blue line and streaked down the ice on a breakaway. Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff threw his stick in an attempt to break up the shot, but Grabner's forehand beat Miller to make the score 2-0.
Early in the third period, John Tavares extended the Islanders lead to three on his team-leading 12th goal of the season. After winning a puck battle behind the net with the Sabres' Andrej Sekera, Tavares wrapped around the net and beat Miller top-shelf with a wrist shot. Moulson and Brad Boyes earned the helpers on the goal at 4:24.
Colin McDonald tacked on a power play goal with less than a minute remaining to make the score 4-0. Casey Cizikas' pass from behind the goal ricocheted off a Sabres defenseman across to McDonald at the left wing side, who wasted no time in netting his third of the season.
The Islanders have a quick turnaround before their next game, Sunday, Feb. 24 when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
Notes: The Islanders went 1-for-4 on the power play. Mark Streit earned the secondary assist on McDonald's tally to finish with two points (one goal, one assist), and led the team with 23:18 of ice time . Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald led all players with four blocked shots apiece . Matt Martin had a game-high six hits . Marty Reasoner led the Islanders at 60% (9-for-15) in the faceoff circle.
New York Islanders
60 Kevin Poulin
26 Thomas Vanek - 19 Cody Hodgson - 29 Jason Pominville
42 Nathan Gerbe - 63 Tyler Ennis - 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott - 12 Kevin Porter - 55 Jochen Hecht
82 Marcus Foligno - 25 Mikhail Grigorenko - 36 Patrick Kaleta
24 Robyn Regehr - 57 Tyler Myers
10 Christian Ehrhoff - 44 Andrej Sekera
52 Alexander Sulzer - 6 Mike Weber
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth
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