BUFFALO 4, ISLANDERS 1
By Jason Lockhart
Forward Chris Drury and defenseman Brian Campbell each notched two goals to help the Buffalo Sabres grab a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with a 4-1 win over the Islanders, Thursday night at the HSBC Arena.
Drury scored his 36th and 37th career playoff goals, while Campbell scored his first two, also adding an assist in the game. Dainius Zubrus chipped in with three assists.
The Islanders and Sabres were tied at one early in the second period before the Sabres scored three unanswered goals, including two on the power play. The Sabres finished 2-for-6 on the man-advantage, while the Islanders went 0-for-3 on the power play.
"I thought we played okay 5-on-5," said head coach Ted Nolan. "We did a pretty good job of shutting them down at even strength. There is a game plan we came up with and we're going to stick to it, even if it isn't pretty."
Buffalo took control in the early going, out-shooting the Islanders 11-1 in the opening period, and ultimately 35-21 in the game. Ryan Miller made 20 saves for the win, while Wade Dubielewicz - losing for the first time in five games - stopped 31 shots.
"Dubie played real well tonight," said Nolan. "He's been playing well for us since he stepped in."
The Sabres capitalized on their first odd-man rush of the game at 9:30 of the first period. Tim Connolly skated up the left-wing side before dropping a pass back to Campbell for a one-timer past Dubielewicz.
"There aren't too many goaltenders who would have been able to stop that one," said Nolan. "Dubie did all he could on that one."
The second and third periods saw the Islanders even out the shot totals and carry some of the play.
After getting hemmed in their own zone for over a minute during the early part of the second period, the Islanders countered on a rush to even the score at one, 6:58 into the second period. Jason Blake slipped a perfect saucer pass across to Asham, who blasted a one-timer past Miller for his first career playoff tally.
"Once we got our cycle going, I thought we took it to them a little," said Mike Sillinger. "We want to be responsible defensively, but we also want to play our game and get the forecheck going."
Despite gaining more chances the Islanders could not break through again, as the Sabres defense and Miller stifled their attack.
"Buffalo did a good job of protecting in front of the net," said Sillinger. "If we tried getting more of a high cycle going, we might be able to confuse them and open things up."
With 8:47 left in the second period, the Sabres took a 2-1 lead when Drury slapped a loose puck just by the glove of Dubielewicz.
"They did a good job of getting people to the net," said Dubielewicz. "We'll need to take a page from their book the next game, and get more guys to their net."
Just 1:08 into the third period, Drury struck again with a one-timer from the left circle for a 3-1 Sabres lead. Zubrus made the cross-ice pass to pick up the primary assist.
Campbell put the game out of reach with a power-play goal late in the third period. Campbell's blast from the point was a perfect roof shot for his second of the game.
Five Stars of the Game
1. Chris Drury: Showed why he's a proven playoff performer
2. Brian Campbell: Looked more like a forward, jumping into the play
3. Dainius Zubrus: Played set-up man with three assists
4. Arron Asham: Provided the only score for the Islanders
5. Tony Lydman: Led the Sabres in ice time with 22:08
Stat of the Game: Chris Drury and Brian Campbell combined for 15 shots.
Slapshots: Arron Asham has three goals in five games against Buffalo this season...The Islanders set a new team playoff record by taking only one shot on goal in the first period...Wade Dubielewicz, Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais made their playoff debuts...This was the Islanders' first playoff game since April 16, 2004.
34 Wade Dubielewicz
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
14 Chris Campoli - 8 Bruno Gervais
94 Ryan Smyth - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
45 Arron Asham - 27 Randy Robitaille - 55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 81 Miroslav Satan
11 Andy Hilbert - 10 Richard Park - 20 Richard Zednik
30 Ryan Miller
35 Ty Conklin
27 Teppo Numminen - 45 Dmitri Kalinin
51 Brian Campbell - 6 Jaroslav Spacek
5 Toni Lydman - 10 Henrik Tallinder
55 Jochen Hecht - 48 Daniel Briere - 29 Jason Pominville
12 Ales Kotalik - 23 Chris Drury -15 Dainius Zubrus
26 Thomas Vanek - 9 Derek Roy - 61 Maxim Afinogenov
22 Adam Mair - 19 Tim Connolly - 21 Drew Stafford