Islanders Edge: Sloppy third period results in another Isles loss to Buffalo
photo credit: Jeffrey T. Barnes - staff, AP
A loss to the 2021 Buffalo Sabres is embarrassing enough, right? Well, apparently not. How about two?
On the second night of a back-to-back upstate, the New York Islanders outplayed a hapless Sabres team in nearly every category yet somehow failed to win the scoreboard.
Buffalo drew first blood, scoring 15:59 into the first period. The Isles responded twenty-six seconds later thanks to Anthony Beauvillier, who notched his fourteenth goal of the 2021 campaign and staying hot. Josh Bailey (25) and Brock Nelson (14) were credited assists.
A tie headed into the third period was quickly broken. Ryan Pulock picked up his second goal of the season, 3:44 in. Cal Clutterbuck (7) and Ross Johnston (1) both picked up assists. 9:16 into the second frame, with a Sabres power-play dying out, Clutterbuck sniped one past Buffalo's goaltender Michael Houser, giving New York a 3-1 lead.
Anders Bjork made the game 3-2 with 2:23 left in the second period. New York's collapse continued when Bjork tied the game with 9:04 remaining in the third period.
Neither team did much in overtime, which carried this game all the way to a shootout.
In the shootout, the Isles were completely blanked by Houser. Isles netminder Ilya Sorokin was solid in the shootout; however, one Sabre did score on him to give his team the win. Can you guess who?
Of course, if you guessed Bjork, you'd be correct.
Buffalo won the contest 4-3, basically destroying the Isles' hopes of finishing in second or third place in the MassMutual East Division standings.
Sorokin was solid all night and cannot be faulted for the goal he allowed in the shootout. New York's defense was inconsistent all night and non-existent on a couple of plays that led to Buffalo goals. Mathew Barzal did not play and is resting up for the playoffs. The boys in blue and orange must put this one behind them and prepare to take on the New Jersey Devils at home on Thursday, with puck drop set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time. Getting to full health, getting rested, and improving multiple aspects of their game is a must if New York is looking to be a tough out in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.