NEW YORK (AP) As Sabres coach Dan Bylsma sees it, Buffalo has had some excellent efforts this season that didn’t end in victories.
So he and his team aren’t about to apologize for the way they earned two points Sunday night.
Sam Reinhart broke a tie with 6:16 remaining to help the Sabres complete their comeback in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders.
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”You go out and win a game in the third period,” Bylsma said. ”You don’t see that often on the road in the National Hockey League.”
Matt Moulson also scored in the third period, helping Buffalo erase a 1-0 deficit. The Sabres have won two in a row and three out of five.
Linus Ullmark made 29 saves for Buffalo.
New York has lost three straight. The defeat was New York’s second at Barclays Center in regulation this season.
”Frustrating,” Kyle Okposo said. ”We want to perform.”
Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan scored his first goal of the season, and Thomas Greiss made 20 saves.
This first meeting of the season between Buffalo and New York was a defensive affair. The Islanders outshot the Sabres 30-22 and held a 58-52 advantage in attempted shots.
Neither team scored until past the midpoint of the second period. Both the Sabres and Islanders clogged the middle of the ice, limiting offensive chances mostly to low-percentage shots from the perimeter.
”We weren’t creating many chances,” Reinhart said.
De Haan’s goal with 6:18 left in the second opened the scoring. He found a loose puck above the faceoff circles, spun away from Johan Larsson and then fired a shot low to the stick side while Ullmark had bodies in his line of sight.
Buffalo nearly drew even 2 minutes later. Moulson beat three Islanders up ice for a semi-breakaway, but Greiss stuffed the former Islander to keep New York in the lead.
Okposo had an opportunity 1 minute into the third period to increase the lead, but his slap shot from the blue line hit the post.
It cost the Islanders when Moulson tied the game 6:20 into the third.
The sequence leading to the tying goal began when Brian Gionta’s shoot-in from the neutral zone eluded Travis Hamonic and landed on the stick of Zemgus Girgensons. Girgensons carried the puck under the left faceoff circle before sliding a pass to Moulson, who redirected it into the net.
Ullmark’s biggest save occurred at 9:56 of the third when he smothered Steve Bernier’s shot from the slot to keep the game tied.
”It’s amazing what a couple of big saves can do,” Reinhart said of Ullmark. ”It can turn two losses into two wins just like that. He’s been great.”
The significance of the point-blank save grew exponentially when Reinhart finished a 2-on-1 with his second goal of the season.
”Some of the young guys were just very disappointing,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ”They have to step their game up.
”Some guys were just too casual. Sunday game, casual. And you’re not going to win many games like that.”
Jack Eichel, the No. 2 overall pick in last June’s draft, finished with four shot attempts in 16:07 for Buffalo.
NOTES: John Tavares missed his second straight game with an illness. … This game was the third of a hockey tripleheader at Barclays Center on Sunday. Bentley beat Army 6-2 and Notre Dame beat UConn 8-2 in the day’s first two games. … Buffalo scratched defenseman Mike Weber and center Tim Schaller. New York scratched goaltender Jean-Francois Berube and left wing Taylor Beck. … The announced attendance was 11,278. …The loudest cheer of the night was for a highlight of New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson’s home run in Game 5 of the World Series. … Neither team was awarded a power play.