Islanders goaltender Martin Biron recorded his 200th NHL win and first of the season, while Jeff Tambellini scored a hat trick as the Islanders won their third game in a row with a 5-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Halloween night at the Nassau Coliseum.
Biron was tested early and often by his former team in the first period, stopping 14 shots. His best save came midway through the first period when he stopped Thomas Vanek on a point blank one-timer right in front of the crease.
The Islanders goaltender stood on his head the rest of the game, stopping 38 shots overall for his first win of the season.
"To say we finished the month playing .500 hockey with three big wins against three big teams, and teams that are at the top of our conference right now demonstrates that the guys want it," Biron said. "It feels really good to get that first win."
The win was extra-special for Biron, being his 200th career victory.
"This is my sixth game this year and I had one last year before the end of the season to try and get it," Biron recalled. "It's not that I was focusing on it but it's fun to know that its there. It took me a little longer than I wanted, but Ill take it."
Tambellinis first career NHL hat trick just added to the win.
With the Islanders up 1-0, he gave the Islanders a two-goal lead midway through the second period on an incredible between-the-legs shot. Tambellini had just exited the penalty box serving a slashing minor and drove towards the Buffalo net as Sean Bergenheim created some pressure deep in the Sabres zone.
Bergenehim sent a soft backhander towards the Buffalo net that deflected off the side of the net, but Tambellini got to the rebound and looked to overskate the loose puck. However he stuck his stick between his legs and managed to find a spot in between Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller and the post to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead with his fourth goal of the season.
Just two and a half minutes later Tambellini was at it again, scoring his second goal of the game to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead. Doug Weight started the play, circling Miller and sent a centering pass to Tambellini who was waiting at the top of the faceoff circle and one-timed a wrist shot past the Buffalo goaltender for the three-goal lead.
Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon has been seeing many improvements in Tambellini after sitting for five games at the start of the season.
"I think the biggest thing is that he's getting his shot off," Gordon said. "He's also going to the front of the net."
Tambellini's second marker drove Miller from the game, as Buffalo Head Coach Lindy Ruff pulled his starting goalie in favor of backup Patrick Lalime.
Tambellini finished off the hat trick with 4:18 left in the third period. With Buffalo down a man following Criag Rivet's instigating minor, Kyle Okposo fired a shot on Lalime which trickled through his pads. Tambellini found himself in the right place and the right time and banged home the rebound for the hat trick and a 5-0 Islanders lead.
"It's just a great feeling, its one more thing I always wanted to accomplish," Tambellini said. "I'm happy to get that one and I'm looking forward to the next one."
The hat trick was extra-special for Tambellini, as his father, former Islander and current Edmonton General Manager, Steve Tambellini was in attendance watching his son play.
"It's a pretty special night for me, to have him in the building is just the icing on top," said Tambellini. "I'm happy he was here, and happy he got to see that."
Richard Park started the scoring off for the Islanders an a fantastic individual effort with 2:47 left in the first period for his first goal of the season. Park intercepted an attempted breakout pass by Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers deep in the Sabres zone. Park skated in on Miller and fired a wrist shot over his glove hand for the 1-0 lead.
With the Isles up 3-0, Josh Bailey upped the Islanders lead to four goals 15:20 into the second period with his second goal of the year. Bailey received a pass from Bruno Gervais at the top of the left faceoff circle and one-timed a slapshot over Lalime's glove to give the Isles a 4-0 lead.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Martin Biron, NYI: Recorded his 200th NHL win with shutout. 2. Jeff Tambellini, NYI: First NHL hat trick 3. Richard Park, NYI: Goal, assist
Slapshots: Buffalo led the Islanders in shots 38-30...Mark Streit led all Islanders in ice time with 23:54...Jeff Tambellini led all Islanders with 5 shots...Islanders were 1-2 on the power play, while buffalo was scoreless on five advantages..Freddy Meyer, Rob Schremp, and Blake Comeau (all healthy) were the Islanders scratches...Islanders are the only team this season to score more than two goals against Ryan Miller...Halloween night games treat the Islanders well, as they are now all time 8-4-1 on October 31.