Gionta wins finale in overtime


The Buffalo Sabres closed out their 2015-16 campaign with a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders in overtime.

The first period was a lot of back and forth between both teams, each getting a couple of good scoring opportunities including one for rookie sensation Jack Eichel. Buffalo went on the power play after Reinhart’s stick was slashed out of his hands. Although they came up empty, they displayed excellent puck movement but only managed to register one shot on net. At the end of a scoreless first, the shots favored Buffalo, 7-6.

A short delay held the start of the second up, courtesy of some faulty lights at Barclays Centre. Once power was restored the two teams would battle on. The Islanders would get on the board first with Scott Mayfield netting his first career NHL goal. Just over three minutes later, the Sabres would tie the game as Matt Moulson buried a pass from Eichel for his eighth of the season.

The Sabres would then go on to take a penalty for having too many men on the ice. New York would fail to capitalize on this mistake. As the second period began to wind down, the game started to open up and with 2:03 left in the period, Rodrigues made a nifty move and fired the puck through Gibson’s five hole to collect his first career NHL goal. 

The third and final period featured the same speed and intensity as the end of the second. After the Sabres went on an early power play, Alan Quine would score a short-handed goal at 2:07 and give the Islanders a 3-2 lead.
Ullmark got caught out playing the puck by Bracken Kearns who then slid the puck out in front of the net to Quine who buries it.

3 minutes and 50 seconds later, Brian Gionta would score his first of the game after charging down the right hand wing and blowing a slap shot by Gibson. The resurgent Islanders, who need to score at least three points in their final two games to avoid a first round showdown with the Panthers, battled back again as John Tavares would tie the game and send it to overtime after he outmaneuvered Ryan O’Reilly in front of the net and slipped the puck by Ullmark.

After action at both ends of the ice during the overtime period, Rodrigues fired a pass from his own end into the Islanders zone, with 2:21 to go to Pysyk, who then had it gently deflect off his stick into the corner. After corralling the puck he fed the it to a wide open Gionta who fired a laser passed Gibson to end the game.

The Sabres end their season one game under .500, a significant improvement from last year.

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