Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
But on Saturday night they did just that, defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 at Nassau Coliseum. It was the first time since February 27 that the Islanders have won a game at home.
“That was a good 60 minutes we played tonight,” Kyle Okposo said after the win. “There was never really a doubt and when they scored that power play goal [Strome’s] line came back with a huge goal there to put us back with a two-goal lead. We didn’t look back from there.”
The Islanders opened the scoring early in the first period. Frans Nielsen beat Sabres’ goaltender Jhonas Enroth with a shot from along the boards to put New York up 1-0 at 3:31. The Isles jumped ahead by two late in the period off a power play goal by Kyle Okposo at 17:24.
The score would remain that way until the third period when the Sabres finally scored their first goal of the night.
Tyler Ennis scored 56 seconds into the period to pull Buffalo within one goal, but Ryan Strome answered right back with a highlight reel goal 40 seconds later to put the Islanders back in front by two. Cal Clutterbuck secured the win with an empty net goal at 17:47.
“We got a lead, didn’t give it up. They scored one on the power play and we responded within a minute. It’s nice to see. It’s different guys stepping up at this point. The way things have gone as of late, we got the lead and we held on to it. We had a pretty good game. One of the better games as of late,” Travis Hamonic said.
The Islanders finished the game outshooting the Sabres 38-34 and the defense kept the Buffalo power play to just one goal on six chances. Isles starter Anders Nilsson made 37 saves, which included 10 in the third when the team needed them the most.
Nilsson credited his performance with the play of the defenseman saying, “they played so good.”
“They helped me out a lot,” Nilsson said. “They cleared out the guys in front of me so I saw pretty much every shot and had a clear view. No backdoor plays or nothing, so all the guys in front of me played a good game.”