After more than two weeks off from game action due to COVID-19, the Buffalo Sabres were back on the ice doing battle with the New York Islanders for Game 1 of their eight-game season series. However, it wasn't even really a contest in the final 30 minutes as the Islanders shut down the Sabres, earning a 3-1 win on Monday night at KeyBank Center.
The Sabres dictated much of the play in the first period, but found themselves trailing after 20 minutes. The blue and gold had a handful of nice chances on Semyon Varlamov, but it was the Islanders who boasted a 2-0 advantage.
With 3:23 left in the opening frame, captain Anders Lee tipped a puck past Linus Ullmark to open the scoring. A minute-and-a-half later, Ullmark allowed a goal to forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau that the Sabres netminder would definitely like to have back.
Buffalo had a quick response in the second period to get on the scoreboard with a power play goal from Victor Olofsson. It was his fourth tally of the season, and it also gave the winger points in seven-straight contests, which is a career-high.
The Islanders re-gained their two-goal lead about eight minutes later when Josh Bailey found Brock Nelson for a power play goal of their own. The 3-1 score would hold through the rest of the period, and eventually the remainder of the game.
The Sabres, trailing by two goals virtually the entire night, failed to register a shot in the third period, as the Islanders went into shut down mode to preserve the win. Buffalo was out-shot 12-0 in the final 20 minutes, and ended up getting out-shot on the night, 29-21.
NYI: 16:37 - Anders Lee (5) (Josh Bailey, Mat Barzal); 18:21 - Jean-Gabriel Pageau (5) (Nick Leddy, Scott Mayfield)
BUF: 1:40 - Victor Olofsson (4) PPG (Rasmus Dahlin, Taylor Hall)
NYI: 9:49 - Brock Nelson (3) PPG (Josh Bailey, Oliver Wahlstrom)
BUF: 8:09 - Brandon Davidson (Holding - 2 min.)
NYI: 0:28 - Adam Pelech (Tripping - 2 min.); 19:30 - Casey Cizikas (Slashing - 2 min.)
BUF: 1:24 - TEAM (Too many men on the ice - 2 min., served by Tage Thompson)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Josh Bailey - NYI
2.) Anders Lee - NYI
3.) Semyon Varlamov - NYI
The Islanders will stick around for one more game on Tuesday night at KeyBank Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. EST with the Paul William Beltz Pregame Show with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog kicking off at 6 p.m. EST on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.