Minutes after the opening whistle, it was evident to many that the Buffalo Sabres were mentally and physically gassed from Friday night’s heartbreaking loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
A 3-0 shutout from the New York Islanders lends credence to that.
For the final time, the Buffalo Sabres stepped into the Nassau Coliseum to take on the New York Islanders. At the end of the season, the Islanders will move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The game would start off fairly even, but the uber-talented New York Islanders would not take long to strike first.
With the man-advantage on their side, Kyle Okposo would score his 17th goal of the season, putting the Islanders up 1-0.
The score would remain the same throughout two periods.
Buffalo would appear to be sleepwalking through this game, but the Islanders’ ability to possess the puck may have done that to the Sabres.
Things would remain close among these teams, until midway through the third period.
A shot by Brock Nelson, deflected off a broken stick, skipped through the five-hole of goaltender Andrey Makarov. There were a few complaints from the Sabres, but clearly there was nothing that could be done. Nelson’s 20th goal of the season put New York up 2-0.
The dagger would come at 13:13 of the third. Nikolay Kulemin’s 14th goal of the season slipped passed Makarov. Kulemin’s goal would put the Islanders up 3-0.
For the Buffalo Sabres, it was a big night for goaltender Andrey Makarov, who made his National Hockey League debut.
“I felt a little nervous for that first shot,” Makarov told WGR 550. “After that, felt good the whole game.”
Although Makarov was charged with the loss, stopping 33 of 36 shots in his debut is nothing to be disappointed about.
With this loss, the Buffalo Sabres drop to 22-49-8 on the season, with 52 points.
The Sabres are in action again on Monday night, against the Carolina Hurricanes in the penultimate home game of the season. Puck drops shortly after 7 PM, and will be broadcast on MSG.