EditorsNote: Update 2: Fixes Isles’ stat in 4th graf
Jason Pominville scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period Tuesday night for the host Buffalo Sabres, who went on to beat the New York Islanders 3-1.
Jeff Skinner and Johan Larsson also scored for the Sabres, who have alternated wins with losses in their last five games. With the victory Tuesday, Buffalo closed within two points of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Goalie Linus Ullmark made 24 saves.
Casey Cizikas scored in the first period for the Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders, who had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the seventh time in the last 26 games (19-5-2). Goalie Robin Lehner, who spent the previous three seasons with the Sabres, recorded 19 saves.
A faceoff win by the Sabres’ Jack Eichel led almost immediately to Skinner scoring the game’s first goal. After outdueling Brock Nelson, Eichel passed the puck to Skinner, who fired a shot over a group of players that caromed off the top of the post and into the net with 3:35 left in the first.
A turnover by the Sabres led to Cizikas scoring the tying goal for the Islanders in the waning seconds of the period. New York right winger Cal Clutterbuck poked the puck free from Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and dished to Matt Martin, who backhanded a pass to Cizikas, whose shot sailed past Ullmark’s glove with 22.4 seconds remaining.
Eichel again created the go-ahead goal, this time at 6:49 into the second. The center raced up the ice all alone and backhanded the puck to Pominville, who had Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock beaten by a step. Pominville descended into the crease and tucked a shot between Lehner’s legs.
The Islanders buzzed throughout the third period but could not score the equalizer. Ullmark turned away a point-blank opportunity by Clutterbuck with 7:13 left. Anthony Beauvillier fired just wide of the net on a backhanded rebound attempt with 5:45 to go.
The Sabres iced the game with 2:25 left, when Lehner slowed Kyle Okposo’s shot but could not stop it from trickling behind him. Larsson swooped in from behind the net and tapped the puck in just before it would have crossed the goal line.
—Field Level Media