A late rally fell short, and the New York Islanders dropped their final meeting with the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Tuesday night at First Niagara Center.
The Islanders gave up an early goal for the second straight game and could not overcome the early deficit against a stingy Sabres squad.
“We knew what these games were going to be like,” said Doug Weight, who was coaching in the Jack Capuano’s absence due to the flu. “This is what we are going to see the rest of the way. This is playoff hockey, it’s a 2-1 affair and we were on the short end of it.”
Buffalo opened the scoring on Tyler Myers goal at 1:21 of the first. Myers took several whacks at a loose puck in a scramble before finally beating Kevin Poulin. The Islanders responded with 14 shots in the period, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Buffalo took a two-goal lead early in the second period as Thomas Vanek finished a pass from Derek Roy beneath the Islanders goal line. Roy and Jason Pominville assisted on both Sabres goals, and the top line has recorded 12 points in their last two games.
Frans Nielsen cut the deficit in half late in the third period, slapping a shot low stick side on Ryan Miller with 5:08 left to play. Nielsen’s four goals in his last six games make him the hot hand on the Islanders and with an assist, PA Parenteau sets a new career high with 54 points(12g/42a).
“We scored a big goal in the end to stay in the game,” Parenteau said. “We battled the whole way. It was 2-0, it was hard to get to the net and Miller was playing very strong, especially in the second.”
Miller turned aside 30 Islanders shots while Poulin stopped 35 of 37 shots and looked solid after allowing two goals on five shots Monday.
“It was just a little bump in the season,” Poulin said. “I was pleased to have another opportunity right after and I think overall I was pleased with my game except we didn’t get the two points.”
The Montreal native also recorded his first career NHL point, the secondary assist on Nielsen’s goal.
Josh Bailey left Tuesday’s game with back spasms after the second period and did not return.
After three games in four nights, the Islanders have two days off to prepare to host the New York Rangers on Friday at 7 p.m.
1 - 0 BUF
2 - 0 BUF