Line-mates John Tavares and Matt Moulson both added to their team-lead in goals with three apiece and Andy Sutton blasted his first goal of the season past Buffalo Sabres’ starting goalie Ryan Miller but it was not enough as the Sabres defeated the Islanders 6-3 Friday night at HSBC Arena. With the loss, the Islanders drop to 0-2-3 this season and will look for their first win of the 2009-10 season Saturday night at home against the San Jose Sharks at 7 p.m.
Buffalo opened the scoring early in the first when rookie defenseman Tyler Myers scored the first goal of his young career. The 6’8 defenseman picked up a loose puck in front of Islanders’ starting goalie, Dwayne Roloson, and backhanded a shot through his legs for the 1-0 Sabres’ lead. Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford had the assists on the goal coming 2:27 into the first period.
With 5:18 remaining in the opening frame, Clarke MacArthur was sprung for a breakaway on Roloson but was taken down from behind by the Islanders’ defenseman Mark Streit and was awarded a penalty-shot by referee Wes McCauley. MacArthur made a quick fake as if to shoot “five-hole” and pulled the puck to his backhand, sliding it under the arm of Roloson to give the Sabres the 2-0 lead. The goal was MacArthur’s third tally of the season.
In the second period, Buffalo took a three-goal lead on a power-play goal from Tim Connolly. MacArthur dug the puck out from behind the net and it bounced to Connolly at the right post. The former Islanders spun around and sent a low wrist shot that snuck past Roloson for second goal of the season coming at 4:46 of the middle frame.
The Islanders would break through when Matt Moulson scored his third goal of the season three minutes later. Kyle Okposo sent a pass to Freddy Meyer, stationed at the center point position where the Islander defenseman fired a shot on goal through traffic. Moulson was cutting through the crease and was able to redirect the shot past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller for his third goal of the season and cutting the Sabres’ lead to 3-1.
It did not take long for Buffalo to regain their three-goal lead at 4-1 when Jochen Hecht blasted a slap-shot through the legs of Roloson for his first goal of the season. Hecht’s goal was assisted by Henrik Tallinder and came at about the halfway mark of the second period. After the goal, Islanders’ Head Coach Scott Gordon replaced Roloson in goal with Martin Biron.
The second period scoring output would not end there as John Tavares, playing in front of over 30 family members, scored his third goal of the season. The puck was rimmed around the boards by Moulson and Miller faked as if he were going to stop the puck and move it to his defenseman. Instead he let the puck continue around the boards to where Tavares was waiting to intercept. He took two strides to get a shooting angle on goal and snapped it over Miller who attempted to dive back in front of the goal from the opposite side. Mark Streit also had an assist on the tally coming at 12:54 of the period to cut the Sabres’ lead in half to 4-2.
The Sabres would go right back on the attack in the third period as Daniel Paille drove to the net from the right-wing boards. He attempted to shield the Islander defenseman from breaking up the play and was able to dish the puck to Patrick Kaleta, skating in from the far side. Kaleta took the puck and slid it past Biron for his second goal of the season coming 8:52 into the third period. Andy Sutton would answer for the Islanders only 23 seconds later with his first tally of the year. Blake Comeau settled the play in the Buffalo zone and dropped a pass back for Sutton who put all of his 6’6, 245 pounds into a shot that whistled through Miller to make it a two-goal Sabres’ lead at 5-3.
Pominville closed out the scoring at 15:52 of the third period with his first marker of the season and 100th of his career. Connolly and Myers had the assists on the goal giving the Sabres a 6-3 advantage.
Roloson faced 12 shots and made eight saves before Biron entered the game halfway through the contest. Biron had 20 saves on 22 shots. Miller earned the victory for the Sabres facing 39 shots and turning aside 36. The Islanders were 1-for-4 on the power-play and 5-for-6 on the penalty-kill.
The Islanders will face-off against the San Jose Sharks for the one and only time this season, Saturday night at 7 p.m. The game is the Islanders Hockey Fights Cancer Night where the team will tape their sticks in pink tape and they will be auctioned off throughout the game. The auction will run from 6 p.m. through to the second intermission. Fans with the winning bids will receive their sticks from the player post-game. For tickets or information about any upcoming Islander games, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Tim Connolly – Completes the three stars matching his teammates with a goal and an assist
2. Clarke MacArthur – Adds a goal on a penalty shot and an assist
3.Tyler Myers – Scores the first goal of his NHL career and also adds an assist
Honorable Mention: Matt Moulson – Ties Tavares for the team lead in goals with three and earns an assist on Tavares’ goal
Ball Boy: For a young boy, to have the opportunity to work with a professional hockey team’s equipment staff is an unforgettable experience. Helping with the sticks, filling the water bottles and making sure there are pucks for warm-ups. For John Tavares (the Islander) he grew up in the shadows of his uncle, also named John Tavares (the lacrosse player). To put it in perspective, people have described Tavares (the lacrosse player) as the Wayne Gretzky of NLL, playing for the Buffalo Bandits for the past 18 seasons he holds the record for most goals scored in league history, currently at 671. Growing up Tavares (the Islander) was the ball boy for his uncle’s team and spoke this morning of many fond memories of watching the Bandits play.
Jack Hill-IN: Islanders’ defenseman, Jack Hillen made his season debut Friday night after sitting as a healthy scratch through the Islanders first four games. Hillen was paired with Brendan Witt on defense and the two complimented each other nicely as Witt served as the stay-at-home defenseman, giving Hillen the freedom to join the play offensively. The scratches for the Islanders tonight, all healthy, were Jeff Tambellini, Nate Thompson and Bruno Gervais.
Giants: The Islanders have Andy Sutton, on skates at 6’8, patrolling their blue-line but on the other bench tonight another towering presence was felt. Tyler Myers, Buffalo’s first round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft was listed at 6’8 OFF OF SKATES. That would bring him up to about 6’10 on the ice.
The Aud: Walking into HSBC Arena this afternoon, assistant coach Dean Chynoweth was commenting how what an upgrade the current building is from the old Auditorium that used to stand across the street. To see the vacant lot that sits outside of HSBC Arena, it is amazing to think that a hockey rink sat in the middle because the land mass does not cover much ground.
26 Matt Moulson – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
20 Sean Bergenheim – 12 Josh Bailey – 57 Blake Comeau
93 Doug Weight – 13 Rob Schremp – 16 Jon Sim
28 Tim Jackman – 10 Richard Park – 40 Joel Rechlicz
32 Brendan Witt – 38 Jack Hillen
25 Andy Sutton – 44 Freddy Meyer
2 Mark Streit – 24 Radek Martinek
30 Dwayne Roloson (starter)
43 Martin Biron
20 Daniel Paille – 9 Derek Roy – 21 Drew Stafford
41 Clarke MacArthur – 19 Tim Connolly – 29 Jason Pominville
55 Jochen Hecht – 13 Tim Kennedy – 25 Mike Grier
37 Matt Ellis – 28 Paul Gaustad – 36 Patrick Kaleta
34 Chris Butler– 52 Craig Rivet
10 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
5 Toni Lydman – 4 Steve Montador
30 Ryan Miller (starter)
40 Patrick Lalime