The Buffalo Sabres began their three-game series against the New York Islanders with a 5-2 loss at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Colisuem on Thursday night.
Noah Dobson scored just past the halfway point of the first period to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. The goal came as New York peppered Jonas Johansson with nine shots on goal in just over 10 minutes. Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal were credited with the assists on the game's first goal.
Less than a minute later, Buffalo was penalized for too many men on the ice, but they were able to kill off the penalty. New York was credited with four shots on goal during their man advantage opportunity.
The Islanders doubled the lead late in the opening period thanks to Matt Martin's third goal of the season. The veteran was able to bank the puck off of Johansson's head from a bad angle to give New York a 2-1 lead. Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier assisted on the score.
The Sabres opened the second stanza by killing off the remainder of a Rasmus Ristolainen holding minor. New York was credited with three shots on goal on the power play that started with under 30 seconds remaining in the first period.
Taylor Hall capitalized on a neutral zone turnover by the Islanders to cut Buffalo's deficit to 2-1. Hall's second goal with the Sabres came on the rebound after Cody Eakin took the puck just outside the blue line and put the puck on net. Eakin received the lone assist on the rebound goal.
The goal by the Sabres snapped an impressive streak by Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin that lands him third in franchise history for the longest shutout streak by a rookie netminder.
Beauvillier recorded his second point of the night with a goal that extended New York's lead back to two, 3-1. Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey assisted on the goal that came when the forward was able to get past the Sabres defense and beat Johansson for his second of the season.
An early third period goal by Eberle made it 4-1 in favor of New York, and gave the veteran his second point of the night. The forward's ninth goal of the season came just over three minutes into the period, with Anders Lee receiving the only assist.
Another rebound opportunity helped create a goal for the Sabres in the third period to bring the team back within two goals, 4-2. Ristolainen scored on, what was, a delayed penalty situation, and Buffalo having an extra skater on the ice. The defenseman's third goal of the year was assisted by Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.
The lead was back to three thanks to Martin's second goal of the game. The forward was able to skate to the front of the net and stuff home a second chance opportunity. Cizikas also added another point with an assist on the goal.
NYI: 10:25 - Noah Dobson (2) (Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal); 16:21 - Matt Martin (3) (Casey Cizikas, Anthony Beauvillier)
BUF: 3:08 - Taylor Hall (2) (Cody Eakin)
NYI: 14:58 - Anthony Beauvillier (2) (Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey)
BUF: 7:23 - Rasmus Ristolainen (3) (Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart)
NYI: 3:04 - Jordan Eberle (4) (Anders Lee); 14:28 - Matt Martin (4) (Casey Cizikas)
BUF: 11:05 - Team (Too many men on the ice - 2 min.); 19:34 - Rasmus Ristolainen (Holding - 2 min.)
BUF: 6:17 - Colin Miller (Roughing - 2 min.); 12:00 - Rasmus Ristolainen (Tripping - 2 min.)
NYI: 6:17 - Anders Lee (Roughing - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Matt Martin - NYI
2.) Jordan Eberle - NYI
3.) Casey Cizikas - NYI
The two teams will meet again on Saturday afternoon on Long Island for the second game of the series, and the first of two in as many days. The puck drops at 1 p.m. EST on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550. The Paul William Beltz Pregame Show starts our coverage at 12 p.m. EST with Brian Koziol.