Islanders comeback falls short after Sabres take three-goal lead
For the second time this season, the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres scored plenty of goals at the HSBC Arena, but this time Buffalo came out on top, earning a 5-3 decision Wednesday night.
Buffalo built a 4-1 lead early in the second period on goals by Nolan Pratt, Toni Lydman, Ales Kotalik and Derek Roy. The Islanders got to within one at 4-3, but Jochen Hecht scored the fifth goal for the Sabres midway through the third period and Ryan Miller shut the door, making 38 saves for his 12th win of the season
“We gave them too many chances,” said an agitated Ted Nolan. “We got into penalty trouble. We just need more and have to have a better effort.”
The Islanders got goals from Miroslav Satan, Richard Park and Mike Sillinger. Rick DiPietro made 26 saves in the losing effort.
Each team converted on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity.
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. On a delayed penalty call at 8:43 of the first period, Pratt’s floater from the point sailed past DiPietro.
Buffalo scored two quick goals early in the second period to take a 3-0 lead. First Lydman scored from a point shot on the power play at 4:04, then 56 seconds later, Kotalik converted on a one-timer following a Bill Guerin giveaway.
The Islanders cut the lead to 3-1 with a 5-on-3 power play goal just over a minute later. Sillinger sent a feed to Satan, who blasted a one-timer past Miller for his eighth goal of the season. Marc-Andre Bergeron earned the secondary assist.
The Sabres quickly regained a three goal lead at 9:34 of the second period on a 5-on-3 power play goal. Kotalik’s slap pass was re-directed into the empty side by Roy for his team-leading 11 goal.
With 3:15 left in the second period, Park chipped the puck past Miller to cut the lead to 4-2. Bergenheim’s slapshot was initially stopped, but Park found the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
“Sean Bergenheim was probably the best player on the ice,” said Nolan. “Hopefully his energy will rub off on the rest of us.”
Sillinger made it a 4-3 game just 4:00 into the third period. First Trent Hunter missed an open net with Miller out playing the puck, but Sillinger followed up for his seventh goal of the season.
It became 5-3 when Hecht’s backhand snuck through DiPietro at 8:14 of the third period.
Just 25 seconds later, the Sabres appeared to take a 6-3 lead when Drew Stafford kicked the puck over the goal line, but it was disallowed due to a distinct kicking motion.
The Islanders could not take advantage and failed to get another one past Miller.
Tomorrow, the Islanders take on Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes at the Nassau Coliseum.
Click here to purchase tickets to tomorrow's contest against Phoenix.
Five Stars of the Game: 1. Ales Kotalik: Created chances all over the ice, 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots 2. Jason Pominville: Played set-up man with three assists, +2 3. Sean Bergenheim: A barrel of energy on the ice, 1 assist, +1 4. Derek Roy: Nice re-direction on his power play goal, +1 5. Maxim Afinogenov: Two assists, +1
Stat of the Game: Buffalo won 58% of the draws
Slapshots: In two games at the HSBC Arena this season, the Islanders and Sabres have combined for 18 goals...Mike Sillinger as four points (3+1) in his past three games...Sean Bergenheim recorded his first point since November 19.
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32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
25 Andy Sutton - 4 Bryan Berard
14 Chris Campoli - 8 Bruno Gervais
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
11 Andy Hilbert – 18 Mike Sillinger – 7 Trent Hunter
15 Jeff Tambellini– 89 Mike Comrie – 13 Bill Guerin
20 Sean Bergenheim– 63 Josef Vasicek – 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon – 10 Richard Park
30 Ryan Miller
41 Jocelyn Thibault
6 Jaroslav Spacek - 51 Brian Campbell
44 Andrej Sekera - 5 Toni Lydman
4 Nolan Pratt - 38 Nathan Paetsch
26 Thomas Vanek - 9 Derek Roy - 21 Drew Stafford
55 Jochen Hecht - 19 Tim Connolly - 29 Jason Pominville
12 Ales Kotalik - 28 Paul Gaustad - 61 Maxim Afinogenov
76 Andrew Peters - 20 Daniel Paille - 22 Adam Mair