Maybe it was playing in the Barclays Center for the first time, or maybe it was the choppy ice that endured college hockey games earlier in the day. Whatever the reason, the Buffalo Sabres didn’t quite have their skates under them to start the game.
After two periods, they trailed the New York Islanders 1-0 and had mustered just 12 shots on goal—a depressing amount for a team that leads the NHL in shots per game with 33+ a night.
Thankfully, all they needed was the third period to swing the momentum in their favor and skate off with a 2-1 victory, and their first winning streak of the young season.
“The guys are thrilled to hopefully get on a roll now,” said Sam Reinhart following the game. “It’s been kind of up and down—and a win and a loss here and there—to start the year, so to finally get our second in a row with a couple days off, a couple good practice days to get back at it, the guys are excited.”
Reinhart was instrumental in the comeback win, netting the game-winning goal and his second this year. While storming into the Islanders’ zone in a 2-on-1, he caught a perfect pass from David Legwand and threw it past Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss to put the Sabres ahead.
“That was nice, I think [Legwand] almost faked me out a little bit,” said Reinhart with a chuckle. “But it was great pass, and I don’t think he had much room to move it over.”
The other Buffalo tally came from Matt Moulson just a few minutes beforehand. The former Islander followed Zemgus Girgensons as the “Latvian Locomotive” bull-rushed to the net. After Girgensons’s shot bounced off of Greiss, Moulson immediately found the rebound and tapped the puck into the net for his fourth goal this season.
The Islanders’ lone score came from Calvin de Haan at 13:42 of the second after a mad scramble in the Buffalo crease left starting goaltender Linus Ullmark and several Sabres disorientated. De Haan eventually got the puck as the Sabres regathered themselves and shot it through a crowd for his first goal this year.
That the one and only time that New York could solve Ullmark, though, who earned his second NHL win with a dominate performance, fending off 29 of the 30 shots that the Islanders threw his way. Ullmark has now given up just two goals in his last two starts after allowing four in his NHL debut a little over a week ago.
The Sabres have some time off before they take to the ice once again. Their next game will be Thursday back home as they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning for the two teams’ second meeting on the season.