Final: BUF 3 NYI 6
Shots On Goal: BUF 29 NYI 33
Power Play: BUF 0/4 NYI 0/3
Hits: BUF 23 NYI 25
Blocked Shots: BUF 11 NYI 11
NYI: John Tavares (1) assisted by Jordan Eberle (1)
NYI: John Tavares (2) unassisted
NYI: Casey Cizikas (1) assisted by Andrew Ladd (1)
NYI: Josh Bailey (1) assisted by Josh Ho-Sang (1) and Jason Chimera (1)
BUF: Evander Kane (1) assisted by Jack Eichel (2)
BUF: Evander Kane (2) assisted by Ryan O’Reilly (1)
NYI: Anthony Beauvillier (1) assisted by Nick Leddy (1) and Casey Cizikas (1)
BUF: Jack Eichel (1) assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen (1) and Evander Kane (2)
NYI: Casey Cizikas (2) assisted by John Tavares (1) and Josh Bailey (1)
Buffalo looked to rebound after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the home opener. Matt Moulson got the chance to make the lineup and Jordan Nolan was scratched. Josh Gorges was scratched on defense and Zach Bogosian is still out day to day with an injury. The Islanders were shutout 5-0 in their season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night.
Minutes into the game, Marco Scandella couldn’t settle a pass and it led to a 2 on 1 for the Isles. Jordan Eberle fed the puck to John Tavares, and Tavares put the puck past the diving Robin Lehner for the 1-0 lead. This was a very poor defensive play and Robin Lehner shouldn’t have dove across to try and stop it. He had time and didn’t have to react like that to try and make the save.
Buffalo had their chances to tie the game after Tavares’ goal. The Girgensons-Reinhart-Griffith line had some very nice pressure in the offensive zone. Evander Kane split Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy but was denied by the pad of Jaro Halak. Kane drew a slashing penalty on Johnny Boychuk on that play. The Sabres would go to the power play again shortly after that. The first power play unit had a few scoring chances but they just couldn’t beat Halak.
Brock Nelson got around Victor Antipin and Matt Tennyson and Robin Lehner robbed Anthony Beauvillier and he kept it only 1-0 heading into the 2nd period. The Sabres had the edge in shots on goal in the 1st, outshooting the Isles 11-9.
Robin Lehner was roughed up in his crease, Ristolainen and Mayfield went to the box but Mayfield would serve a double minor. The Sabres allowed two shorthanded goals on their power play. Nathan Beaulieu tried to make a no-look pass to Jack Eichel but completely missed and the puck found its way to John Tavares for his 2nd goal of the game. Under a minute later, Casey Cizikas added another shorthanded goal to make it 3-0. Then, after Buffalo’s power play expired, Josh Ho-Sang found Josh Bailey in front and then he ripped the puck past Lehner to make it 4-0. That would be the end of the night for Robin Lehner as he’d be pulled in favor of Chad Johnson. Lehner didn’t have a good game at all. All four of the Islander goals were saveable in my opinion. He needs to be better sooner rather than later if he wants to keep his starting job.
The Sabres responded well to the pulling of Robin Lehner. While they were killing off Kyle Okposo’s penalty, Jack Eichel forced Halak to turn over the puck behind the New York net, and he fed the puck to an open Evander Kane to put the Sabres on the board.
Casey Cizikas lifted Eichel’s stick into the face of Anthony Beauvillier. Eichel goes to the box for high sticking. Benoit Pouliot and Jacob Josefsson had some nice scoring chances but they were denied by Halak. Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly were great on this penalty kill. They had a few great chances including O’Reilly ringing the puck off the post. Evander Kane missed the net but it bounced perfectly around the net, Halak had no idea where it was, and Kane tapped the puck in for his second shorthanded goal of the game.
Six minutes into the 3rd period, Anthony Beauvillier jammed the rebound past Johnson to make it 5-2. Very poor defensive play on this one. Nathan Beaulieu, who didn’t have a good game at all, left Beauvillier wide open in front to put it past Johnson. Johnson made a great save and it’s a shame that the defense didn’t really show any effort on that play for their goaltender.
It took the Sabres 13 minutes to register their first shot of the 3rd period. That is just inexcusable.
Jack Eichel really stepped it up towards the end of the game. He made a good play along the boards, the puck found its way to Rasmus Ristolainen, and Eichel got a piece of the puck to make it a 2 goal game with just minutes to go in the game.
Buffalo got a late power play and had a couple prime goal scoring chances. Kyle Okposo was robbed by Halak point blank and it appeared as if Sam Reinhart scored to make it a 1 goal game but the call on the ice was confirmed as no goal because there was no conclusive evidence that he scored.
Kyle Okposo had a phenomenal backcheck and stripped the puck off of Mathew Barzal who had the net wide open just feet away. The Isles would score an empty-netter in the dying seconds of the game to make it a 6-3 win.
Overall, this was a very bad performance by Buffalo. Lehner wasn’t on his game tonight at all and the defense was just awful for most of the game. Yes, they need to adjust to Phil Housley’s system but they have to be better.
Buffalo will face the New Jersey Devils on Monday afternoon.
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