Grabner, Islanders cruise vs. Sabres
Michael Grabner scored twice and rookie goalies Nathan Lawson
and Kevin Poulin combined to stop 36 shots in the New York
Islanders’ 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Matt Moulson, Jack Hillen and P.A. Parenteau also scored in the
game the Islanders led 4-0 before Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe scored
goals 5 seconds apart late in the third period.
The Islanders improved to 15-24-7 with their second victory in
seven games (2-4-1), with both victories coming against
Gerbe set a franchise record for the fastest goals by one
player. His first goal, on a backhander from the right circle, came
with 3:22 left. He then scored on a wrist shot.
The 5-second span matched Pete Mahovlich for the third-fastest
goals by a player in NHL history. Mahovlich did it for Montreal in
1971. The record is four seconds, set by the Montreal Maroons’ Nels
Stewart in 1931 and matched by Winnipeg’s Deron Quint in 1995.
Lawson stopped 10 shots in the first period, before leaving the
game because of a left knee injury. Poulin took over and stopped 26
of 28 shots as the Islanders played without starter Rick DiPietro,
who stayed home because of flu-like symptoms.
They were enough to beat the Sabres, (21-21-5), who looked
sloppy and nothing like the team that had entered the game on a
Starter Ryan Miller didn’t have much help when he was pulled in
favor of Patrick Lalime in coach Lindy Ruff’s bid to provide his
team a spark after Moulson scored to put the Islanders ahead 2-0 at
the 10:30 mark. Lalime allowed two goals on 18 shots, as Grabner
sealed the win with an empty-netter with 2 seconds left.
Grabner opened the scoring 7:26 in, when his centering pass from
the left corner banked in off of Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. And
Myers was at fault before the goal because he twice failed on two
chances to clear the zone.
The Sabres looked worse when Parenteau was left alone in front
to put the Islanders ahead 3-0 with 5:25 left in the second period.
Moulson helped set up the goal when he pressured Sabres defenseman
Mike Weber deep in the Buffalo zone.
Weber made a weak pass up the left boards, with the puck landing
directly on the stick of Islanders forward John Tavares, who
immediately fed a pass to Parenteau.
The Sabres had several scoring chances but wound up either
hitting the post or being foiled by Poulin.
Thomas Vanek got off a hard shot on the fly up the right wing
only to have it hit the right post six minutes into the second
period. About 10 minutes later, Marc-Andre Gragnani had Poulin beat
from the left circle only to have his shot ring off the
Poulin did make two key stops midway through the second period.
He kicked out his right pad to foil Steve Montador’s snap shot from
the slot and then recovered in time to make a snow angel to stop
Jochen Hecht’s attempt to convert the rebound.
NOTES: Through a quirk in the schedule, the Sabres and Islanders
will meet for a third time in nine days at Long Island on Sunday.
The Isles beat Buffalo 5-3 last weekend. … Sabres RW Patrick
Kaleta did not return after the first period after aggravating a
left hand injury. Kaleta was only playing his third game since
missing seven with a broken left hand. And he had been cleared to
play Friday despite hurting the same hand while blocking a shot at
Boston on Thursday. … The Islanders improved to 10-6-2 since
ending a 1-17-3 skid. … Coming off consecutive victories, the
Sabres have yet to win three straight this season.