The New York Islanders made is seven straight games with points on Monday night with their 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Anders Lee, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson each scored for the Islanders in the win, and Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves for his seventh victory of the year. The win was the Islanders fourth in their last five games.
New York outshot Buffalo 29-21 through the 60-minute affair, which included holding Buffalo without a shot in the third period. It was the first time in team history that the Islanders have done that.
“it’s a good win to start the trip,” Josh Bailey said. “It’s a quick turnaround here so we can’t sit on it for too long.”
The New York Islanders are 7-4-3 through their first 14 games of the season and the win pushed them two points ahead of the Washington Capitals in the East Division.
The game was Buffalo’s first after a 14-day layoff due to COVID-19 protocols. They had been scheduled to face the Islanders on Feb. 2 before the NHL postponed both games the two teams had against one another that week.
“I don’t think we were taking it lightly,” Nelson said. “They had some time off, but after a break like that everyone is fired up to play and just happy to be back out there. We’ve been in that situation. Different scenario with bye weeks and things like that. … We knew they were going to come and have some jump after having not played in a bit. We wanted to get to our game plan.”
Lee opened the scoring at 16:37 after the Islanders fended off a sluggish start. Mathew Barzal had a hard check on Sam Reinhart to keep the puck in the Buffalo end. The Islanders star fed the puck to Josh Bailey, who put the puck on net and Lee deflected the puck by Linus Ullmark.
The assist by Barzal extended his point streak to a new career-high, nine games.
The New York Islanders extended their lead to two when Pageau scored off the rush moments later. The Pageau charged into the Buffalo end with the puck and sent what looked like an innocent enough shot on net, which beat Ullmark at 18:21 of the first and made it 2-0 Islanders.
Victor Olofsson cut the Buffalo deficit to one with a power-play goal 1:21 into the second period. A one-timer from the right side faceoff circle beat Varlamov to make it a 2-1 game, but the Islanders responded with a power-play goal of their own.
Josh Bailey was able to put the puck right off the stick of Nelson, who had been parked near the front of the net, to give the Islanders back the two-goal advantage. Oliver Wahlstrom had an assist on the play and picked up his first career NHL assist.
“Tonight we all seemed to be on the same page,” Bailey said about his line. “We were able to create more than what we’re accustomed to.”
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