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Game Recap

Sabres lose to Islanders in sloppy affair

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Recap

After showing a certain level of swagger and compete in the opener, the Sabres looked like a totally different squad in a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Despite showing a ‘no quit’ attitude and drive in their game, the Sabres got away from the structure and discipline that they’ve preached about since the beginning of the preseason.

After a difficult opening-night 5-0 loss at the hands of the Blue Jackets, the New York Islanders wasted no time in getting on the board. Only 1:50 in, Islanders star and captain John Tavares buried a wrist shot past Robin Lehner. Jordan Eberle assisted on the goal, executing on a 2-on-1 rush, which there were a number of in the first period for the Islanders.

The second period is when things got really bizarre. Usually when a team is awarded power play opportunities, good fortune follows. The Sabres only have to look back one game to see how this always doesn’t go according to plan.

For the second time in the game Tavares scored, this time short-handed on an absolutely brutal turnover by defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. Only a minute later, on the same power play no less, Casey Cizikas potted himself a short-handed goal. Two games, three short-handed goals against for the boys in blue and gold.

The second period collapse continued for Buffalo as Josh Bailey scored, this time at even strength. Lehner was mercilessly pulled as Chad Johnson entered the goal for the first time this season.

Three goal leads are ‘the most dangerous lead in hockey’, and the Sabres erased enough of them last season to warrant the nickname “cardiac kids.” Despite being down by four, the Sabres still showed some resolve.

Enter Evander Kane.

This time on an Islanders power play, the Sabres decided it was their turn to spark some short-handed magic. Jack Eichel capitalized on a lax puck handle by Jaroslav Halak, throwing a pass to Kane who was all alone. Kane buried it, for the third short-handed goal in the game.

In keeping with such a bizarre game, Kane scored his second of the period – you guessed it, short-handed!

The Sabres, though, could not pull closer than two goals for the rest of the game. While most expected a third period push, Buffalo didn’t muster a shot until 13 minutes into the third period.

Eichel made things interesting, though, scoring with under four minutes left in the game. Eichel, on a positive note, does have three points in two games (1 goal, 2 assists) this season.

Sam Reinhart had a golden opportunity that would have made the game 5-4, with about a minute to go in the game. The play went to review, and of course with no conclusive evidence the goal did not count. With an empty net goal, the Islanders pounded on the Sabres to the tune of 6-3.

After such a devastating loss the night prior, it was expected the Islanders would come hard. After such a competitive game Thursday, it was hugely disappointing for the Sabres to implode in the second period the way they did.

They’ll get back to the drawing board and take on the New Jersey Devils in Buffalo for a 3 p.m. matinee game on Monday.

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