By Jason Lockhart
The Islanders fell behind 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres after the first period and couldn't climb back, ultimately losing 6-4 Friday night at the HSBC Arena.
Chris Drury led the way for the Sabres with two goals -- one on the power play and one shorthanded. The first period was brutal for the Islanders, who allowed two power-play goals and two shorthanded tallied in the opening frame.
Special teams helped and hurt the Islanders as they scored three power-play goals on eight opportunities, while allowing three man-advantage goals in seven shorthanded situations.
Despite making it interesting in the final period, Ryan Miller picked up the win, turning aside 25 of 29 Islanders shots. For the Islanders, Mike Dunham was replaced in the second period by Wade Dubielewicz, who stopped 17 of 18 shots. The Islanders were out-shot 30-29 in the game.
Derek Roy scored 2:14 into the game on a shorthanded breakaway for a 1-0 Sabres lead.
The Islanders got it right back on their next power play at 4:28 of the first period. Mike Sillinger found Jason Blake in the slot. Blake corralled the puck and roofed it over Miller for his 39th goal of the season.
At 7:55 of the first period, Thomas Vanek scored his 38th goal of the season with a stuff play from behind the net on Dunham for a 2-1 Buffalo lead.
The Sabres took a 3-1 lead when Drury ripped a high one-timer in the back of the net while on a 5-on-3 power play, three seconds past the halfway mark of the first period.
Drew Stafford gave Buffalo a 4-1 advantage 53 seconds later on the power play with a backhand deke.
Drury scored his second goal of the game on the power play off another shorthanded breakaway with 5:03 remaining in the first period.
After a scoreless second period, four goals were scored in the third period.
Two Islanders goals by Viktor Kozlov, one by Tom Poti and a Dainius Zubrus power-play goal in the third period made it a 6-4 game.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Chris Drury: Two goals -- PP and SH -- one assist
2. Derek Roy: A goal and an assist in the first
3. Jason Pominville: Three assists
4. Drew Stafford: A goal and an assist in the first
5. Viktor Kozlov: Two late goals made the game look closer than it was
Stat of the Game: The Sabres scored five goals on 12 shots in the first period.
Slapshots: Rick DiPietro (head), Freddy Meyer (finger), Ryan Smyth (leg) and Bruno Gervais (ankle) were tonight's scratches...Viktor Kozlov now has 24 goals on the season - a career high...Steve Regier played in his first game of the season with the Islanders.
1 Mike Dunham
34 Wade Dubielewicz
32 Brendan Witt - 6 Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli - 38 Allan Rourke
3 Tom Poti - 47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
79 Alexei Yashin - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 81 Miroslav Satan
10 Richard Park - 27 Randy Robitaille - 55 Jason Blake
45 Arron Asham - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
11 Andy Hilbert - 15 Jeff Tambellini - 48 Steve Regier
30 Ryan Miller
35 Ty Conklin
27 Teppo Numminen - 45 Dmitri Kalinin
51 Brian Campbell - 6 Jaroslav Spacek
5 Toni Lydman - 10 Henrik Tallinder
55 Jochen Hecht - 48 Daniel Briere - 29 Jason Pominville
26 Thomas Vanek - 9 Derek Roy - 21 Drew Stafford
12 Ales Kotalik - 23 Chris Drury -15 Dainius Zubrus
20 Daniel Paille - 22 Adam Mair - 38 Nathan Paetsch