As they begin the final week of the regular season, the Buffalo Sabres hosted the New York Islanders for the first of back-to-back games in their final two meetings of the season. Goaltender Michael Houser, the sixth goalie to start for Buffalo this year, also made his NHL debut in this game. He ultimately shined in net as he led the Sabres to a 4-2 win over Islanders for their first win in the season series.
The game started with both teams earning scoring chances and Houser making quality saves. However, the unlucky bounces Buffalo has seen throughout the season continued, with the Islanders scoring off a shot deflected by Henri Jokiharju as they gained an early lead. The opening period ended with the Islanders holding a one-goal lead and slim advantage in shots on goal.
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Although it appeared their lead was doubled under a minute into the second, a successful challenge for goalie interference by the Sabres kept the margin at one. After Oliver Wahlstrom gave New York a two-goal lead more than halfway through the second, the Sabres responded, courtesy of a power-play goal by Tage Thompson with under six minutes remaining. The goal also ended Semyon Varlamov’s shutout streak at 248:00.
After recent struggles by the Sabres on the power-play, they finished the game 1-for-3 with the man advantage, and were successful in their lone penalty kill attempt, and was one of their better performances on special teams as of late.
The third period started as the Sabres looked to even the game after cutting the goal margin in half before intermission. While they pressured Varlamov early in the period, the Sabres couldn’t get past the netminder until Rasmus Asplund‘s seventh of the year tied the game with eight and a half minutes left, and it would be the first of three goals for Buffalo in the third. After chasing the Islanders for most of the game, Sam Reinhart gave Buffalo their first lead of the game with over four minutes to go, which was ultimately the game-winner. He followed that up with an empty-net goal for his second of the night and 25th of the year, which iced the game.
Making his NHL debut, Michael Houser was the star of the night, as he made 34 saves on 36 shots faced against the Islanders and, as a result, was named the game’s first start. His performance helped lead the Sabres to their first win against New York this season in their seventh meeting of the year. At 28 years old, he’s the oldest goalie to make his NHL debut for the Sabres, and he took advantage of this opportunity against one of the league’s best teams.
Buffalo will have a quick turnaround from last night’s win as they will play host to the Islanders once again tonight. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m, as the Sabres will look for back-to-back wins on home ice to close out their home schedule.
Date: May 4th
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: KeyBank Center
TV Broadcast: MSG
Radio: Sabres Radio Network (channels vary in different cities, check the list here)
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