A POWERFUL THIRD FOR THE SABRES
By Kerry Gwydir and Chris Botta
The Islanders blew a 3-2 lead heading into the third and lost to the Sabres in Buffalo tonight, 6-3, as the home team put on a clinic in hard work and capitalizing on the man-advantage.
Brian Campbell's point shot on the power play tied the game at 3-3 at 9:25 of the third. Tomas Vanek had the game-winner -- again, on the power play -- at 15:01 when he trapped a point shot and then slid it past Garth Snow. Chris Drury scored 11 seconds later after Miroslav Satan gave up the puck along the boards at the blueline and then Drury put on a dazzling one-man effort. Jochen Hecht scored an empty-netter at 19:43 to close out the scoring. It may say it all that the Islanders only had five shots on goals in the second period and five in the third after taking a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Despite virtually the entire first ten minutes being played in the Islanders' end, the Islanders rebounded from Brian Campbell's game-opening goal at 5:11 with three of their own: Jason Blake at 10:33, Alexei Yashin at 12:03 and then Miroslav Satan on the power play with just seven seconds remaining in the period. The right wing managed to scoop up a Chris Campoli point shot that missed the net and beat Miller back to the net to pot his 16th of the year.
Much like the first, the middle stanza wasn't any better to start as Arron Asham and Brent Sopel took penalties immediately after each other just 18 seconds in. That set up an almost full two minutes. Several key blocks by Alexei Zhitnik thwarted several attempts at Snow, but late in the two-man advantage the Sabres converted. Maxim Afinogenov slammed home a loose puck on the doorstep at 2:09 of the second period, just prior to the two infractions ended after a point shot by Ales Kotalik pinged in front of Snow while Chris Drury and Vanek chipped away.
Notes: The Islanders' power play was 1-5, the Sabres 3-8, including the game-tying and game-winning goals...Snow allowed five goals on 34 shots. The Sabres' Ryan Miller, after a shaky first, stopped all ten shots he faced in the second and third periods combined...
Brent Sopel had a team-high 23:54 of icetime...Alexei Zhitnik led the Islanders with four shots...
(45) Arron Asham-(79) Alexei Yashin-(81) Miroslav Satan
(55) Jason Blake-(16) Mike York-(7) Trent Hunter
(18) Jeff Hamilton-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(11) Mattias Weinhandl-(28) Wyatt Smith-(49) Eric Godard
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(3) Brent Sopel
(44) Janne Niinimaa-(25) Brad Lukowich
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(30) Garth Snow
(39) Rick DiPietro
(26) Thomas Vanek-(19) Timmy Connolly-(12) Ales Kotalik
(55) Jochen Hecht-(23) Chris Drury-(25) Mike Grier
(22) Adam Mair-(9) Derek Roy-(61) Maxim Afinogenov
(20) Dan Paille-(28) Paul Gaustad-(29) Jason Pominville
(74) Jay McKeee-(8) Rory Fitzpatrick
(10) Henrik Tallinder-(5) Toni Lydman
(51) Brian Campbell-(27) Teppo Numminen
(30) Ryan Miller
(43) Martin Biron