The Sabres stay steady and beat the Islanders

February 12, 2019 - 10:09 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello insisted that his old New Jersey Devils teams play defense and clog the neutral zone. Nothing has changed with the Islanders and the total shots after 40 minutes were 15-10 Islanders.

It’s a horrible game to watch and will make fans run from the game instead come and enjoy it, but it also has the Isles in first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The one thing I liked about the Sabres game in the first 40 minutes was they didn’t let the Islanders make them get frustrated and try to start forcing things.

It was a shame the Sabres couldn’t leave the first period up a goal. Jeff Skinner cut behind Jack Eichel who had won the faceoff. Skinner wired a shot over Robin Lehner’s shoulder for the game’s first goal.

Buffalo had one big mistake and it was Rasmus Ristolainen turning the puck over along the wall to Matt Martin. Martin found Casey Cizikas in front and we were tied.

Jason Pominville told me after the morning skate that if the Sabres wanted to be successful in this game, they needed to use speed on the Islanders defense. Pominville did that beating Ryan Pulock to the net where Eichel found him.

Things were a little different in the third period. There were 22 total shots in this third and there were two times that New York had all sorts of pressure. In the middle of all that either Ullmark made the save or a stick got into the passing lanes.

Disaster almost struck when Ristolainen fell down allowing Cal Clutterbuck in alone, but Ullmark made a huge save to preserve the win.

The whole third period I kept saying to Jon Koziol that the Sabres never seem to be able to push that goal across to get a two goal lead. With 2:25 left, Kyle Okposo’s shot got through Lehner and Johan Larsson was in behind him to tap home his first goal in 15 games and make it 3-1.

Eichel didn’t score in this game, but he had a huge impact. He had two big assists and did a good job defensively getting back and pressuring the Islander forwards.

Lawrence Pilut played right defense for the first time in his NHL career and I thought did a pretty nice job. It didn’t seem to faze him at all.

This really was a team victory as only Ristolainen was over 20 minutes in playing time.

The Sabres have now passed last year’s points total of 62 points in its only Feb. 12.

The Rangers close out Buffalo’s seven-game home stand on Friday. The Sabres are 3-2-1 and with a win can leave their home stand with nine points.

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