BUFFALO, N.Y. – Ryan Miller made 30 saves, including stopping Matt Moulson on the doorstep with 4:04 left, and led the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Tyler Myers and Thomas Vanek staked the Sabres to a 2-0 lead, and Buffalo won its second in a row since an 0-3-1 skid. Jason Pominville and Derek Roy had two assists for Buffalo (26-27-7), which jumped a point ahead of the Islanders (25-27-8) in the Eastern Conference standings.
Frans Nielsen scored with 5:08 left to snap the Islanders' goal drought at 106 minutes, 51 seconds, a day after New York lost 6-0 at home to Ottawa. The inconsistent Islanders are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games.
With New York pressing for the tying goal, Moulson was set up at the right post but he was robbed by Miller, who made a sprawling save. Miller was also sharp 13 minutes into the second period, when he stopped Brian Rolston on a breakaway and then got his chest up to foil Josh Bailey on the rebound.
The loss to Buffalo came with former NHL star Doug Weight filling in behind the Islanders bench because head coach Jack Capuano was sick with the flu at the team hotel.
Watching his team play from afar couldn't have made Capuano feel any better as the Islanders gave up a goal in the first four minutes of each of the first two periods.
It was another fast start for the Sabres, and another early goal given up by Kevin Poulin. The goalie lasted just 1:35 on Monday before getting yanked after he allowed two goals on five shots against Ottawa.
This time, Myers opened the scoring on the third shot during a scramble in front. After Poulin stopped Roy driving to the net, and then Pominville, he had no chance when Myers streaked in from the point and flipped the loose puck over him.
The Sabres were coming off a 6-2 win over Pittsburgh in which they opened the scoring 52 seconds in.
Poulin had no chance on Vanek's goal, scored 3:41 into the second period after a bad line change by the Islanders.
Rather than going immediately to the bench, Brian Rolston chased down the stick he dropped in the Sabres' corner. He didn't realize that teammate Matt Martin was still behind him, limping off.
Enjoying what essentially became a 5-on-3 advantage in the New York end, Roy parked himself behind the net and fed a pass into the slot, where Vanek snapped a shot in the open side.
Poulin went the distance and stopped 35 shots.
The Islanders actually had the game's first scoring chance, but Michael Grabner was stopped by Miller in close in the first minute.
Grabner had no luck five minutes into the second period when his shot from in tight hit the post. The rebound caromed into the slot, but Grabner sent it fluttering into Miller's chest.
NOTES: Sabres D Robyn Regehr didn't return after sustaining an undisclosed upper body injury in the first period. ... Bailey didn't return for the third period because of back spasms. ... Capuano traveled with the team to Buffalo on Monday, but was unable to attend the team's morning skate on Tuesday. ... Though Myers' goal came on the Sabres third shot, New York has allowed a goal on the first shot 10 times this season.