Grabner scores 2 goals, Isles beat Sabres 5-2
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Michael Grabner scored twice and rookie goalies Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin combined to stop 36 shots in the New York Islanders' 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Matt Moulson, Jack Hillen and P.A. Parenteau also scored in the game the Islanders led 4-0 before Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe scored goals 5 seconds apart late in the third period.
The Islanders improved to 15-24-7 with their second victory in seven games (2-4-1), with both victories coming against Buffalo.
Gerbe set a franchise record for the fastest goals by one player. His first goal, on a backhander from the right circle, came with 3:22 left. He then scored on a wrist shot.
The 5-second span matched Pete Mahovlich for the third-fastest goals by a player in NHL history. Mahovlich did for Montreal in 1971. The record is 4 seconds, set by the Montreal Maroons' Nels Stewart in 1931 and matched by Winnipeg's Deron Quint in 1995.
Lawson stopped 10 shots in the first period, before leaving the game because of a left knee injury. Poulin took over and stopped 26 of 28 shots as the Islanders played without starter Rick DiPietro, who stayed home because of flu-like symptoms.
They were enough to beat the sloppy Sabres, (21-21-5), who looked sloppy and nothing like the team that had entered the game on a 7-2-1 roll.
Starter Ryan Miller didn't have much help when he was pulled in favor of Patrick Lalime in coach Lindy Ruff's bid to provide his team a spark after Moulson scored to put the Islanders ahead 2-0 at the 10:30 mark. Lalime allowed two goals on 18 shots, as Grabner sealed the win with an empty-netter with 2 seconds left.
Grabner opened the scoring 7:26 in, when his centering pass from the left corner banked in off of Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. And Myers was at fault before the goal because he twice failed on two chances to clear the zone.
The Sabres looked worse when Parenteau was left alone in front to put the Islanders ahead 3-0 with 5:25 left in the second period. Moulson helped set up the goal when he pressured Sabres defenseman Mike Weber deep in the Buffalo zone.
Weber made a weak pass up the left boards, with the puck landing directly on the stick of Islanders forward John Tavares, who immediately fed a pass to Parenteau.
The Sabres had several scoring chances but wound up either hitting the post or being foiled by Poulin.
Thomas Vanek got off a hard shot on the fly up the right wing only to have it hit the right post six minutes into the second period. About 10 minutes later, Marc-Andre Gragnani had Poulin beat from the left circle only to have his shot ring off the crossbar.
Poulin did make two key stops midway through the second period. He kicked out his right pad to foil Steve Montador's snap shot from the slot and then recovered in time to make a snow angel to stop Jochen Hecht's attempt to convert the rebound.
NOTES: Through a quirk in the schedule, the Sabres and Islanders will meet for a third time in nine days at Long Island on Sunday. The Isles beat Buffalo 5-3 last weekend. ... Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta did not return after the first period after aggravating a left hand injury. Kaleta was only playing his third game since missing seven with a broken left hand. And he had been cleared to play Friday despite hurting the same hand while blocking a shot at Boston on Thursday. ... The Islanders improved to 10-6-2 since ending a 1-17-3 skid. ... Coming off consecutive victories, the Sabres have yet to win three straight this season.