The Isles are rolling. Wins in 3 straight plus points in the last 6 games have the Isles in second in the division (though 4th in points percentage) and all four lines have been contributing offensively and defensively. The Sabres aren’t the toughest competition in the division by any means, but a win’s a win, and getting to see Matt Martin double shifted in the last two minutes of the game to try for a hat trick is one of those fun things that make the games worth watching.
And 5 goals, always fun for the boring Islanders!
It was an uneventful start to the first, as the Isles dominated in shots, but none looked too dangerous. The Islanders broke the 0-0 deadlock about halfway through, when Mat Barzal brought the puck into the one, passed it off to Jordan Eberle, who found Noah Dobson, who shot it past Jonas Johansson.
The Isles went to the power play shortly after, as Buffalo was called for too many men. The Isles couldn’t convert on the man advantage, but not too long after, the Isles would score yet again. Known elite goal scorer Matt Martin took a shot from behind the goal line that bounced off Johansson’s helmet and in.
Butch can’t believe it went in, I can’t believe it went in, but the Isles went up 2-0.
With just 30 seconds left in the period, Eberle drew a holding penalty on Rasmus Ristolainen.
Some great chances on the PP for the Isles to start the period, and Oliver Wahlstrom was just a flubbed one timer away from extending his point streak.
Going the other way, a Ryan Pulock turnover led to the Sabres getting a good shot on goal, where Ilya Sorokin left a big rebound that Taylor Hall was able to pick up and score, cutting the Isles lead in half. Sorokin made a big save on another Sabres opportunity shortly after to keep it 2-1.
The Sabres pressured the Islanders a lot more in this period, and the Islanders were able to take advantage after Josh Bailey broke up a play at the blue line, springing a 3 on 2 that led to an Anthony Beauvillier breakaway, where he got the puck to his backhand and scored to make it 3-1.
Jeff Skinner hit the post early in the third, but a Sabres turnover gave Anders Lee an opportunity to shoot the puck at Johansson, who left a big rebound that Eberle picked up and scored on.
Wahlstrom was close to making it 5-1, but he hit the post after beating Johansson.
Lee and Colin Miller started mixing it up in Johansson’s crease after another Isles shot, and both got two minutes for roughing.
On the 4 on 4, Casey Cizikas took a slashing penalty, giving the Sabres a 5 on 4 opportunity on the delayed penalty that they scored on, with Rasmus Ristolainen banging in a rebound.
Later, Ristolainen took a penalty for tripping, and the Isles couldn’t score on this power play either, but it was a strong effort - the power play is starting to look good even when they’re not scoring. Shortly after the power play expired, Matt Martin scored his second of the game, scoring on his own rebound.
The Isles would win the game 5-2, with a season-high 45 shots.
- Wahlstrom’s emergence has really helped the power play - the Isles are starting to look dangerous for long periods of time on the power play, and Wahlstrom’s shot is a clear influence on that.
- Man, I feel bad for the Sabres. Not so bad that I don’t want the Isles to take all 6 points from these 3 games, but it’s sad seeing a really talented team just unable to put it together at all.
- Sorokin picked up his third straight win - after a shaky start to the season, he’s been totally reliable, and the team has started to give him some real defensive support.
- Jordan Eberle has been so good lately! Big goals from him and he’s been driving offense playing with Barzal.
Next, game 2 of 3 straight against the Sabres - this next one on Saturday afternoon. Let’s keep up the good play, and maybe add some power play goals this time?