Islanders 2, Sabres 1

Islanders earn second consecutive win with goals from Brian Rolston and Matt Moulson, strong game from Al Montoya and big third period penalty kill

Tuesday, 11.29.2011 / 10:44 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Islanders 2, Sabres 1
Putting together back-to-back road wins for the Islanders was an incredibly important task on Tuesday night at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo. The Islanders answered the call beating the Buffalo Sabres 2-1, receiving outstanding play from goaltender Al Montoya in his third straight start. Montoya stopped 30-of-31 shots, and endured extreme pressure on a third period 5-on-3 penalty kill for 1:34.

“You like to build on things, we might not have had the success we wanted to, but we’re putting it together,” Montoya said. “It might be a certain shift or a certain penalty kill, but it’s building that momentum and knowing that when you get in that situation again that you’ve been there and you’ve done it and you can do it again.”

Travis Hamonic guards Paul Szczechura in front of Islander goaltender Al Montoya at First Niagara Center on November 29, 2011. (Photo by Bill Wippert/Getty Images)
Captain Mark Streit was in the box for hooking for a mere 26 seconds when Josh Bailey was called for a questionable kneeing penalty at 11:08. Defenseman Travis Hamonic sacrificed his body blocking key shots (4 on the night), while Montoya kept calm, kept his positioning and stopped shots from Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Marc-Andre Gragnani.

“We know where (Vanek) is going to be,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought that the save (Montoya) made on him in the first period on the breakout was a phenomenal save. It was a great pass and he got his left pad on it so yeah, he played exceptionally well for us tonight.”

The kill helped the Islanders maintain the momentum they’d need to carry them through the end of the game with a one-goal lead.

“It shows a lot about how we’ve come,” Montoya said. “We don’t have a choice. We have to learn and we have to grow fast. Hats off to these guys, I mean they battled. Hamonic blocked two point-blank shots that I would have hurt blocking, so those are just the things the guys have been doing… we’re leaving it all out there.”

Just 1:19 prior to the Islanders big kill (9:23 of the third), Brian Rolston scored the game-winning goal as he stayed with the puck which was bouncing around the crease and the veteran winger shoveled it in past Jhonas Enroth.

Al Montoya makes a third period save on Derek Roy at First Niagara Center on November 29, 2011. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
“I took about three swipes on that puck,” Rolston said. “It was just a loose one and I couldn’t get my stick on it, but we came right back, stuck with it and Ully (Ullstrom) made a nice play in front. I think they over-pursued about three guys and I was alone in front and stuck it in five-hole.”

On the play, David Ullstrom recorded his first NHL point with the primary assist as his shot on net through the high slot, which was fed by Bailey, stuck in the crease long enough for Rolston to capitalize.

The game was kept scoreless through the middle period and the Islanders entered the third period with a 1-0 lead, but just 1:54 into the final stanza, the fourth line was caught out on the ice with Sabres top line and Jochen Hecht was able to convert to level the score at one. The primary assist came from linemate Jason Pominville with the secondary assist from Thomas Vanek.

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal from Matt Moulson at 6:47 of the first period as Streit’s slap shot from the point deflected off shin pad before knuckling through traffic for his eighth goal of the season. Streit and PA Parenteau had the assists.

“It was just a great team effort,” Rolston said. “Guys were really sacrificing. We need that kind of desperation if we want to get back into this (race for the playoffs).”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Bailey 5 2 3 2 5
J. Tavares 5 1 3 0 4
K. Okposo 5 2 1 1 3
N. Leddy 5 0 3 -2 3
R. Strome 5 2 0 0 2
B. Nelson 4 2 0 0 2
C. Clutterbuck 5 1 1 1 2
L. Visnovsky 4 0 2 5 2
C. Cizikas 5 1 0 1 1
C. de Haan 5 0 1 -2 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 2 3 1 .913 2.61
M. Neuvirth 0 0 0 1.000 0.00

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