THE AFTERMATH: ISLANDERS 7, SABRES 6 (OT)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Michael Grabner capped a three-goal game by scoring with 2:05 left in overtime in leading the injury- and suspension-depleted New York Islanders to a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
John Tavares, Blake Comeau, Milan Jurcina and Ty Wishart also scored for an Islanders team that won its third straight and showed it still had some offensive punch left after a brawl-filled 9-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
Kyle Okposo had four assists for the Islanders, who rallied from a 4-2 second-period deficit.
Okposo set up the winning goal, hitting Grabner on the fly at the Sabres' blue line. With a step on defender Andrej Sekera, Grabner snapped a shot beating Ryan Miller just inside the left post.
Drew Stafford scored three times for the Sabres, who had a season-best three-game win streak snapped. For Stafford, it was his league-leading fourth three-goal game of the season and second in three outings. Tyler Ennis had three assists, while Jochen Hecht, Tyler Myers and Nathan Gerbe also scored for Buffalo. ...more.
With Drew Stafford having already recorded a hat trick, including the game-tying goal to force overtime, Islanders rookie Michael Grabner was able to answer with a hat trick of his own. Nearly three minutes into the overtime period, Grabner took a pass from Kyle Okposo up the middle of the ice and went around Andrej Sekera at the Sabres blue line and had a clear path to Ryan Miller and the Sabres’ goal. Grabner snapped a quick shot low to Miller’s stick side to finish off his second career hat trick and give the Islanders a 7-6 overtime win.
- Drew Stafford scored his 21st, 22nd and 23rd goals of the season to record his fourth hat trick of the year and establish a new career-high for goals, and it only took him 36 games to do so. The goals also give him eight in the last four games. Stafford now has five multi-goal games on the season and is the first NHL player to score four hat tricks in a span of 60 days since fellow Sabre Thomas Vanek did it in 2007-08. Stafford also became the first NHL player since Pavel Bure in 2001 to notch four hat tricks in 24 team games.
- Ryan Miller started in goal for the 31st consecutive game, leaving him three shy of matching his career-long consecutive starts streak, which he set during the 2007-08 season. Miller made 19 saves on 26 shots in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Islanders, moving his record during the streak to 19-9-3.
- The Sabres have gone 12-4-2 over the last 18 games and are 3-0-1 in the last four.
- In their last four games, the Sabres have scored 22 goals.
- The Islanders opened the scoring just 40 seconds into the game, the quickest goal allowed from the start of a game by Buffalo this season. When these teams last met on Jan. 23, Paul Gaustad scored just 15 seconds into the contest as the Sabres went on to a 5-3 victory.
- Tyler Ennis recorded three assists, giving him five helpers in the last three games. Tim Connolly collected two assists, which gives him four points in the last three games.
- Thomas Vanek was held without a point for just the fourth time in the last 12 games.
- Patrick Kaleta returned to the lineup after missing the last six games, and 13 of the last 16, with a hand injury.
- Paul Bryon and Craig Rivet were scratched for Buffalo while Steve Montador missed his third consecutive game with concussion symptoms. Montador practiced Saturday in a non-contact role.
- Jack Hillen was the Islanders’ lone scratch while Trevor Gillies (9 games) and Matt Martin (4 games) began serving the suspensions they were issued for their actions during Friday’s game against Pittsburgh.
Buffalo will travel to Montreal on Tuesday for the fifth of six meetings between the Sabres and Canadiens this season. The Sabres are 1-3-0 against the Habs this season but won the last meeting on Jan. 18 in overtime, 3-2. Jason Pominville scored the game-winner on assists from Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis, both of whom recorded multi-point games. Ryan Miller made 29 saves in the contest. The Sabres have not played in the Bell Centre since Nov. 27 when they lost 3-1 to Montreal. The teams will conclude the season series with another game in Montreal on March 22. Following Tuesday’s game, the Sabres will immediately begin a season-long six-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at HSBC Arena.