Jochen Hecht recorded his second straight game with a goal and Jhonas Enroth put on an impressive performance with 28 saves however it simply was not enough for the Sabres to snap their home woes as they fell to the Islanders by a score of 2-1.
The Sabres came into tonight’s game holding a mediocre 6-6-1 record at the First Niagra Center and their home ice struggles would continue again against the New York Islanders. Even with the return of Drew Stafford and Robyn Regehr the Sabres could only put one goal past Al Montoya which will rarely earn you victory in today’s NHL.
The first period started off with some back and forth play between the two teams as both teams were looking to get the all important first goal.
Unfortunately for the Sabres this home game started like many others as on the powerplay Islanders defenseman Mark Streit let a slap shot go, which was then redirected by Matt Moulson giving Enroth no chance and the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The score would stand throughout the first period as neither team could really establish and offensive presence for an extended period of time.
The second period carried the same story line as the first period. Both teams showed some promise in the offensive zone however much like the first neither team could really establish their offense enough for a good scoring chance.
The most noteworthy chance for the Sabres came mid way through the period when Drew Stafford took a turn around shot from the half boards that hit not one but both posts before caroming off to the side.
The third period looked like it was part of a whole new game in general. Both teams really vamped up their play on the offense, especially the Sabres. Less than two minutes into the third period the Sabres top line of Vanek-Hecht-Pominville connected with Hecht earning the game tying goal for the Sabres.
From that point on till the midway mark of the period the Sabres seemed to be in complete control of the game until a misplay behind the net left Brian Rolston all alone in front of Enroth as he pulled it to his backhand and tucked it past Enroth.
The Sabres had several opportunities to draw even again including an extended 5-on-3 however they failed to cash in. With under 3 minutes remaining in the game Drew Stafford sent a cross ice pass to Ville Leino who had a yawning cage however the Finnish forward couldn’t handle the pass as it went between his skates.
In the final minute of the period and the net empty the Sabres looked to have set up in the offensive zone however a hand pass was called on Pominville forcing the face off to come outside the Islanders zone. Instant replay would later show that Pominville had in fact scooped it back to Ehrhoff with his stick not his hands however it was too late as the Islanders held off the Sabres for a 2-1 road win.
It should be noted that three Anaheim Ducks scouts were spotted at tonight’s game which conveniently fits with all the rumors about the Sabres looking to take a run at Forward Bobby Ryan (who is apparently available to the highest bidder). Also Jordan Leopold left the game with an upper body injury and did not return, his status is still un-known at the moment. The Sabres next game is Friday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings.