UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres should know better than to give the New York Islanders a power-play opportunity like they did on Monday that late in a game with the score knotted at two. The Islanders already had two game-winning goals scored on the power play on Coliseum ice this season.
And on Monday they made it three.
It was Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s rebound goal with 4:52 left in the game and the Islanders on their second power-play of the night that led New York to a 3-2 win over Buffalo. But it was the play of Mathew Barzal moments earlier that set the stage for Pageau to play the hero.
It was Barzal’s speed that created the chance the Islanders needed to break the 2-2 tie. The Islanders were able to set up the play behind their own net and then Pulock was able to send Barzal on his way.
You can see the 23-year-old star forward quickly pick up speed as he exits his own end and makes his way into the neutral zone. Riley Sheahan tried to make a play on the puck and slow Barzal’s momentum, but it was clear that the speedy Isles’ forward would have blown past him.
Instead, Sheehan had to try and make a play out of desperation costing his team a penalty in the process. Thus allowing the Islanders the power play chance that they’ve become so deadly on.
The Islanders are 6-2-2 when they score at least one goal on the man-advantage.
“We hop the boards there, we’re excited,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said about the ensuing opportunity after the penalty call. “We want to be the ones that go and get that. Try to find the lane and try to make a play. You get an opportunity like that it definitely gets you going for sure. Our first minute there was, we had some possession, but we didn’t really get any good looks. (Oliver Wahlstrom) and the boys came out and finished the job. … We talk about this all the time, these special teams games and goals are huge.”
It was Walstrom’s initial shot that forced Buffalo netminder Linus Ullmark to make a save and send the rebound back to Pageau, who was in the right spot at the right time.
Coincidentally, Buffalo had scored the game-tying goal on the power play earlier in the third period. So when the chance presented itself to the Islanders the objective was quite clear.
“We have our chance late in the game to get the win,” Pageau said. “I think we were all on the same page going on that power play. That we wanted that goal.”