Angry and bitter, the New York Islanders got some retribution,
another win and a boatload of penalties in their last contest.
It’s cost them quite a bit.
Coming off a record-breaking performance for unruliness followed
by a heavy punishment from the NHL, the Islanders visit the surging
Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
New York (19-29-7) earned its second straight win Friday,
beating Pittsburgh 9-3 at home. It was the Islanders’ best
offensive showing of the season, but the game will be remembered
more for a litany of brawls and penalties, as both clubs set
They combined for 65 penalties, 346 minutes, 10 ejections, 15
fighting majors and 20 misconducts, as the Islanders sought revenge
for losing goaltender Rick DiPietro (facial fractures) and left
wing Blake Comeau (concussion) during a 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh on
The Isles, who have been without both players since, got some
satisfaction from taking out their anger on the Penguins to the
tune of 183 penalty minutes.
“It was a pretty entertaining affair, and we’ll take the two
points,” said Islanders center John Tavares. “I’ve never seen
anything like that before. It just wouldn’t stop. But it just shows
that we’ll do anything for each other.”
Late Saturday night, the NHL suspended Islanders forwards Trevor
Gillies for nine games, Matt Martin for four and levied a $100,000
fine against the team.
“The actions by the Islanders’ Gillies and Martin were
deliberate attempts to injure by delivering blows to the head of
players who were unsuspecting and unable to defend themselves,”
league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said, adding that the club
failed to control its players.
Tavares, who drew only a slashing penalty during the
fight-filled contest, has two goals and seven assists over his last
six games. His 20 goals are four shy of the total from his 2009-10
rookie season, and he’s accumulated five goals and four assists in
seven career meetings with Buffalo (26-22-5).
Mikko Koskinen is likely to make a fourth consecutive start in
net after making 35 saves against Pittsburgh, one night after
stopping 37 shots through overtime and three more in the shootout
of a 4-3 win at Montreal.
“Seems like he just gets more and more confident with each
period,” left wing Matt Moulson told the Islanders’ official
Moulson matched his season high with three points Friday. Facing
the Sabres could mean he’s in line for another strong showing, as
he has three goals and three assists in three games versus Buffalo
“I warned our team that I think (the Islanders) are a good
offensive team, that they have some really good, young, talented
forwards,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told the team’s official
website. “We saw it in the games that we’ve played them. They have
good team speed.”
New York has taken two of three meetings between these clubs in
2010-11, all of which took place in January and all of which were
won by the home team. The Islanders and Sabres split a
home-and-home set Jan. 21 and 23.
Those contests are part of Buffalo’s current 7-2-0 surge. Tyler
Myers gave the Sabres their season-high third straight win Thursday
when he scored with five seconds left in overtime to beat Florida
3-2 on the road.
Thomas Vanek has four goals and three assists during the winning
streak. The left wing has four goals and six assists in his last 10
home games versus the Islanders.
Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller made 24 saves Thursday to improve to
7-1-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average in his last nine games.