The Buffalo Sabres kind of needed a win, and the New York Islanders kind of had an excuse not to get one.
That made for an ugly Saturday night for the Isles, who were never really in it and needed a late goal to spoil a shutout for a 3-1 loss in Buffalo — and a video review to make sure it shouldn’t be 4-0.
Semyon Varlamov made his season debut with 40 saves. Julien Gauthier made his Isles debut and Oliver Wahlstrom got his first turn, as Lane Lambert rotated a couple guys in for Simon Holmstrom and Hudson Fasching as the Isles traveled on the back-to-back.
But...no impact, no results, and the first regulation loss of the season.
“I thought, just through the neutral zone, just our puck management, it has to be better,” Lane Lambert said. “It’s two nights in a row now where we’re trying. The intentions are good, but unintended consequences come along with that.
Such nights are going to happen in an 82-game season where most of the 32 teams have talent and the will to disassemble each other. And the Sabres entered the game with heavy incentive to stop a 1-3 slide to start the season.
But the low energy, the inability to amass shots, and the overall result is one that stings.