The Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders met up for the second time this season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Coming off of a painful 3-1 loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes the night prior the Sabres were looking for a boost to team morale and the fan base. The Islanders meanwhile, having played Tuesday against the Boston Bruins in a rare regulation win, are home again for bobble head night in Brooklyn. Amongst other storylines, former Islander Kyle Okposo is appearing in a Sabres uniform in Brooklyn for the first time since he was traded to Buffalo in the offseason.
The first period played out as a tight affair. Early after the first puck drop a brief scrap between Islander Johnny Boychuk and Sabre Marcus Foligno broke out, supposedly about the hit on Sabre Jack Eichel in the prior game between these two teams. The fight ended cordially. Nine minutes later Anthony Beauvillier scored for the Islanders from the point on a feed from Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince. The Islanders had the best of the Sabres for the rest of the 1st before a penalty on one Western New York native Shane Prince gave Buffalo a power play with less than a minute in the first.
The Sabres power play yielded failed to start off the second. This period would be dominated by the Islanders seeing a plentiful supply of shots on net by the Isles forward core in the first 10 minutes of the period. At one point John Tavares was on the breakaway and Anders Nilsson came up with a tremendous save that seemed to spur on the whole team in Blue and Gold. The boost would not last long as Ryan Strome scored his 5th of the season on a skilled pass from Cal Clutterbuck. The Sabres had squandered another opportunity on the power play before the Islanders got on the one-man advantage themselves. With less than 45 seconds left in the period, John Tavares scored from in front of the Sabres net off a defenders leg. The Islanders were up 3-0 over the Sabres.
The Third Period was not any nicer to the team from Buffalo. The Sabres skating, passing and zone time was more or less non-existent. Andrew Ladd scored with a wrist shot a little over 5 minutes into the 3rd. Now down 4-0 it felt very much like a miracle was needed for the Sabres to go to Christmas break without a rather unpleasant aftertaste. No such miracle came. Calvin De Haan scored a tip-in goal 12 minutes in to seal the deal in Brooklyn. Before the final horn would sound a Sabre did make it onto the box score; Zemgus Girgensons scored a backhand goal assisted by Zach Bogosian and Sam Reinhart. Obviously, it was too little too late, and the game ended 5-1 Islanders.
The Buffalo Sabres, like the rest of the National Hockey League, will be on break for the Christmas holiday. The Sabres will return to play on Tuesday the 27th away at the Detroit Red Wings. They will be looking for some fire and any chance to get off what is now a four-game losing streak.