Buffalo
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43-29-10
New York
Islanders
30-39-13

43 SOG
37 SOG
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game recap

Islanders 5, Sabres 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Dyan LeBourdais

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Islanders 5, Sabres 3
Buffalo Sabres 3, New York Islanders 5


It was a benchmark night for Islanders forward John Tavares, who scored a natural hat trick and gave the Islanders the momentum they needed to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

“It’s a special game for him,” interim head coach Jack Capuano said about Tavares. “You get three, and he had a chance at the end with the empty net to get four. He worked extremely hard tonight. His goals, obviously on the power play, but he played very sound defensively that led to a lot of chances offensively.”

The win wouldn’t have been possible without a great performance by goaltender Rick DiPietro, who played in his first game back since enduring a groin injury on January 3. He especially played well in the final 20 minutes, when the Sabres stepped up their play. In total, DiPietro stopped a total of 40 shots.

“He played awesome,” Comeau said. “When you give up that many shots, and Ricky stood on his head like he did, he gives us a chance to win every night. He’s a big part of this team. Even in the locker room he’s one of the leaders, he’s been around for a while. He’s a guy that we like to see healthy and in the lineup.”

But after a scoreless first period, the Islanders would begin the second period on the penalty kill as Milan Jurcina (tripping) and Radek Martinek (high-sticking) took penalties with seconds remaining in the first. Down two men, Tomas Vanek scored a power play goal just 17 seconds into the second to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead.

It was the Islanders youngest player who stepped up his game and came through with three goals in 5:54, to propel the Islanders to a 3-1 lead. Tavares was extremely happy to be able to score three straight against Ryan Miller.

“He’s one of the best (goaltenders) in the league and one of the best in the world,” Tavares said. “He’s a hell of a goalie. I thought I could’ve had a few more. He stopped me on a few that I probably should’ve had, including that 2-on-0, but I was lucky enough to get those three in a row. It really gave us momentum for the game.”

For his first goal, PA Parenteau passed from behind the goal to Tavares in the slot. He scored with a wrist shot, which rang off the crossbar and into the net at 7:50. Then at 10:34, Matt Moulson took a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle and Tavares deflected it, regained his own rebound to move to the right of Miller and backhand a shot into the back of the net. After a flood of action in front of Miller, Tavares’ scored his third goal at 13:36, when he stuffed Parenteau’s rebound through the lower left corner of the net.

Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres blocks a shot by John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders on January 15, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
But Tavares couldn’t have had the game he had without the help of his linemates, Moulson and Parenteau and defenseman Andrew MacDonald who all took home two assists.

“We love scoring goals and getting hat tricks, it’s always something to cherish,” Moulson said. “PA made some great passes out there and things just seemed to be clicking for us. He made some great plays around the net for those goals, so it was good to see him get it.”

All of those goals came after Parenteau and Tavares had a 2-on-0 opportunity in the first period and after a give-and-go, Ryan Miller was positionally sound to stop Tavares’ shot to the lower right corner.

“I was almost laughing at myself,” Tavares said. “First I thought it went in and it snuck under him, but he made a good read there and, of course, those are ones you’d like to have for sure. I just stuck with it and stayed positive and kept working for more chances. Mouly (Moulson) and PA made great passes all night, they really gave me great opportunities and I was lucky enough to finish them off.”

Before the second period was over, Miller came out beyond the crease and Josh Bailey found Blake Comeau in the slot to score at 15:25 and bring the score 4-1.

“Josh (Bailey) made a great play tonight and I got a lucky bounce,” Comeau said. “I feel like we’re doing some good things. There are some things we want to improve on, but I think that’s all of us just being competitive and not being satisfied with our game. We want to be a line that can contribute on a nightly basis.”

In the final 20 minutes, the Islanders came out a bit flat and Tyler Ennis was able to capitalize with a power play goal at 5:55. Even though the Islanders only took four shots on net in the third, Michael Grabner scored a shorthanded goal at 16:52 to give the Islanders their fifth goal of the night.

With 1:45 left in regulation, Jochen Hecht reduced the score differential for the final time and brought the final score to 5-3.

“I think there were occasions when we made it a little bit harder on ourselves than we needed to, but overall I thought it was a better effort,” DiPietro said about the Islanders overall game. “That’s a hard working team. They’re not going to quit. That reality kind of set in during the beginning of the third – that this team wasn’t going to go away.”

DiPietro continued, “I thought we responded and blocked a lot of shots. I thought our forwards did a really good job closing in the D zone and clearing some pucks for me. That really helps out.”

Islanders lineups
Forwards

26 Matt Moulson - 91 John Tavares - 15 PA Parenteau
57 Blake Comeau - 44 Rob Schremp - 12 Josh Bailey
40 Michael Grabner - 37 Jeremy Colliton - 58 Jesse Joensuu
17 Matt Martin - 28 Zenon Konopka - 14 Trevor Gillies

Defensemen
47 Andrew MacDonald - 36 Travis Hamonic
27 Milan Jurcina - 38 Jack Hillen
8 Bruno Gervais - 24 Radek Martinek

Goaltenders
39 Rick DiPietro
60 Kevin Poulin

Scratches
52 Nathan Lawson
42 Dylan Reese
49 Rhett Rakhshani
51 Frans Nielsen
scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
00:17
BUF
PPG - Thomas Vanek (17) ASST: Tyler Ennis (11), Jason Pominville (13)
1 - 0 BUF
07:50
NYI
John Tavares (16) ASST: Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (16), Matt Moulson (10)
1 - 1 Tie
10:34
NYI
PPG - John Tavares (17) ASST: Matt Moulson (11), Andrew MacDonald (14)
2 - 1 NYI
13:36
NYI
John Tavares (18) ASST: Matt Moulson (12), Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (17)
3 - 1 NYI
15:25
NYI
Blake Comeau (13) ASST: Josh Bailey (7), Bruno Gervais (4)
4 - 1 NYI
3rd Period
05:55
BUF
PPG - Tyler Ennis (10) ASST: Jordan Leopold (16), Jason Pominville (14)
4 - 2 NYI
16:52
NYI
SHG - Michael Grabner (10) ASST: Matt Martin (3), Milan Jurcina (6)
5 - 2 NYI
18:15
BUF
Jochen Hecht (7) ASST: Jason Pominville (15), Thomas Vanek (18)
5 - 3 NYI
penalty summary
1st Period
14:48
BUF
Steve Montador  Holding against  Rob Schremp
19:26
NYI
Milan Jurcina  Tripping against  Tyler Ennis
19:44
NYI
Radek Martinek  Hi-sticking against  Thomas Vanek
2nd Period
03:44
BUF
Rob Niedermayer  Hooking against  Rob Schremp
10:27
BUF
Rob Niedermayer  Hi-sticking against  Jack Hillen
17:38
NYI
Jeremy Colliton  Tripping against  Mike Weber
3rd Period
04:36
NYI
Milan Jurcina  Interference against  Luke Adam
15:19
NYI
Josh Bailey  Hooking against  Nathan Gerbe
goalie stats
Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller
17-14-4
SA: 37TOI: 58:12
Saves: 32EV: 27 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .865SH: 0 - 1
Rick DiPietro
SA: 43TOI: 60:00
Saves: 40EV: 37 - 38
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .930SH: 0 - 0
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