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

Buffalo.

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

7-2-1 roll.

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

crossbar.

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.