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New York Islanders

Islanders Blanked In Buffalo; Shutout For Second Straight Game



AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

When the New York Islanders were held off the scoreboard on Monday night, they were playing in the second half of a back-to-back set.

But with two days off before taking the ice again on Thursday, that excuse went out the window, and so too did their ability to generate offense as they were shut out for the second straight game, falling 4-0 to the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

“We didn’t have a good one tonight, that’s for sure,” Islanders head coach Patrick Roy told the media in Buffalo. “We had a few moments where if we connected, we could have generated more offense, and we did not. It was not a good performance by us…we were flat tonight.”

The fluid puck movement the Islanders had displayed throughout their recent six-game winning streak was nonexistent against Buffalo as they struggled to set up any sort of an attack in the offensive end.

Moving the puck through the middle proved especially difficult. It was as if the Islanders kept trying to skate through a brick wall as the Sabres completely clogged up the center of the ice.

“We weren’t good enough tonight, there’s no question about it,” Anders Lee said. “We just weren’t clean coming out of our zone, and they were putting a lot of pressure on. When teams do that against us, and we break it out well, or we’re clean on the entries and exits, we do just fine. But tonight, we just weren’t as crisp as we needed to be. I think that was pretty evident.”

If not for the play of Ilya Sorokin, who made several highlight-reel saves, the Islanders likely would’ve trailed much earlier in the game than they eventually did.

But while Sorokin held strong for as long as he possibly could, he cracked in the second period under the increasing amount of artillery the Sabres fired in his direction.

Victor Oloffson broke the scoreless tie while on the power play, sneaking a puck between the post and Sorokin’s left pad.

Later in the period, Sorokin managed to make a pad save that stopped an initial chance by Dylan Cozens, only for Cozens to clap back the rebound for a goal that made it 2-0 Sabres.

The deficit quickly grew to three when Zach Benson deflected Henri Jokijarju’s shot from the point. Roy challenged the call for goaltender interference, but replay showed no such evidence from Jordan Greenway as he screened Sorokin in front of the net.

“We didn’t manage the puck well,” Roy said. “Two of those three goals were directly caused because of it. We need to be better if we want to win those in this league, especially on the road. You have to be better than what we were.”

Benson later scored his second goal of the game on an empty net in the third to seal the final score.

By the end of the second period, the Sabres had outshot the Islanders 29-10 and finished the evening with a 37-21 advantage in shots on goal. Sorokin made 33 saves in goal for the Islanders. On the other end, the Islanders couldn’t solve Uukko-Pekka Luukkonen as he turned away all 21 shots he faced.

Lee released some of the frustration for the Islanders via his fists when he used a clean hit by Connor Clifton on Pierre Engvall as a worthy enough excuse to jump the Sabres defenseman.

The loss to the Sabres concluded a four-game road trip that started so well for the Islanders. But after being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 2020, the Islanders end the trip with a middling 2-2-0 record that looks much better on paper than how it played out on ice.

“That’s the beauty of this league. It makes you humble pretty fast,” Roy said. “You’re flying high, [winning] six in a row. You think you’re under control, and then boom, you lost two. Now you got to regroup.”

With 72 points and a record of 29-22-14, the Islanders still own the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

They return home on Saturday afternoon to face the Ottawa Senators at UBS Arena before making the trip into midtown Manhattan for a matinee against the New York Rangers on Sunday.




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