3 major takeaways from the Buffalo Sabres big win on Saturday vs. Isles

Oct 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) controls the puck as New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) defends in the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) controls the puck as New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson (8) defends in the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Buffalo Sabres broke through offensively and defensively, dominating the New York Islanders through three solid periods of hockey.

The Buffalo Sabres scored a huge victory last night against a tough New York Islanders team, winning the game 3-1 and showing the hockey world that they can win gritty hockey games. Sure, wearing the Goatheads may have helped, as the Sabres have improved to 11-1-1 while donning their iconic black sweaters, but it’s more likely that the win came because the Black and Red fine-tuned their game.

They played with an edge for all 60 minutes, and they also made things happen without the puck, something that plagued them last season and into the early stages of 2023-24. Excellent goaltending also fueled Buffalo, and it came because Eric Comrie isn’t feeling the same pressure that he felt last season now that he’s the clear-cut backup.

Buffalo Sabres
Oct 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Tage Thompson (72) and New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) are in a pile of players near the goal in the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

Takeaways from Buffalo Sabres big win over Islanders

1 – Fearless play

While the Sabres played their best game of the year, the early part of the first period saw them repeating the same mistakes they made offensively in their first four contests. There was way too much passing and way too little creating, but that alleviated as the game progressed.

Buffalo stepped it up in all three zones, and managed to shut down the Islanders while they created more opportunities for themselves. Then came Alex Tuch’s memorable fight against Adam Pelech, and from that point onward, the Sabres turned it up a notch, scoring at the 16:37 mark of the second thanks to Casey Mittelstadt finding Jeff Skinner.

Not even three minutes later, the Sabres scored again, this time with Jeff Skinner finding Mittelstadt, who somehow held onto the puck as he looked like he was about to faceplant to the ice, only to find Mattias Samuelsson, who did the rest. The Sabres played with such an edge during the second half of the middle frame that they eventually got under the Isles skin, but at that point, they were controlling the contest.