UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The New York Islanders erased a 1-0 deficit with a four-goal second period on Saturday to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2.
Mathew Barzal’s highlight reel worthy goal kicked the offensive output in the middle frame, which saw Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield also find the back of the net during the second period. The Islanders’ four goals in that period came on just nine shots against Buffalo, which was limited to only five in the second.
“Barzy scoring that goal and the way he did it that lit a little bit of fire in us,” Anders Lee said. “We knew we played a solid first. I think they just jumped on us in that first shift and we kind of stuck to our game. Nelly followed that up, great play from Beau, and Casey and Clutter’s line. I think we just had a flurry after that and kind of stuck with it the rest of the night.”
The New York Islanders have defeated Buffalo in eight straight meetings, as well as eight consecutive games on home ice. Saturday was the second game in a row that the Isles defeated Buffalo by a score of 5-2.
New York has outscored Buffalo 19-7 through five games against one another this season.
“Sometimes you have periods that are like that, sometimes we have better periods and they don’t go in,” Clutterbuck said about the second. “Just have to stick with it and trust that once and a while you’re going to have those periods.”
The Islanders win helps extend their hold on first place in the East Division, pulling two points ahead of the Washington Capitals and three points ahead of the Boston Bruins. New York took possession of the division on Friday night after Washington fell to Boston 5-1.
Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves in his 11th win of the year.
Barzal’s SportsCenter Top 10 worthy goal came 3:51 into the second period. The New York Islanders star was able to beat Rasmus Ristolainen and then stickhandle the puck in front of the net before putting it past Carter Hutton, who made 24 saves in the loss for Buffalo.
The goal helped extend Barzal’spoint streak to three games.
More like GOAL OF THE YEAR
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) March 6, 2021
“I mean it all happened pretty quick,” Barzal said about the goal. “I know he’s coming over to play me there and it’s kind of a rolling puck, so I just tried to put it to an area that he can’t get his stick on or something. Once I Knew I Kind of had body position I kind of felt him a little off balance. Took it to the net and I knew we were so far ahead of the play that I probably had a little bit of time.
“It’s kind of a move you do instinctually and kind of just mess around with it in practice.”
Less than two minutes later Nelson broke the short-lived tie with his seventh goal of the year. A wrist shot from the slot beat Hutton over his shoulder to put the Islanders ahead 2-1.
The onslaught continued at the 8:45 mark of the second when Clutterbuck scored from the slot to put the Islanders ahead by two. A cross-ice pass from Adam Pelech to Matt Martin hit off Martin’s skate and then went right to his stick, where he was able to quickly feed Clutterbuck down low.
The final goal of the second period came at 15:29 when Mayfield scored off a cross-ice pass from Casey Cizikas to make it 4-1.
What a feed.
What a goal. pic.twitter.com/tU7ykSG8Yk
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 6, 2021
Buffalo did cut the Islanders’ lead back down to two when Sam Reinhart scored 52 seconds into the third period, but Anders put the Islanders back ahead by three with his team-leading 11th goal of the year at 2:15 of the final period.
Saturday’s win was the fourth time this season that the Islanders have won after giving up the game’s first goal.
Buffalo was first to jump on the board on Saturday afternoon. Jacob Bryson flung the puck at the net from the half-wall and the shot got by Varlamov 33 seconds into the game.
The goal was Bryson’s first in the NHL.