For a handful of young Islanders, Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres was one they’ll never forget. The overtime loss stung, but Scott Mayfield and Alan Quine went home with a great consolation prize: as they each scored their first-career NHL goals.
“It’s nice to get that, but you want to get the win at the end of the day,” Mayfield said. “Tough we didn’t get that.”
Mayfield, who had nine regular-season games and a pair of playoff games under his belt, scored his first on a wrist shot from the point in the second period. With all the traffic in front of the net, Mayfield wasn’t even sure the goal was his at first, so he didn’t celebrate too much on the ice, but said the feeling was everything he hoped it would be.
“When you’re playing street hockey as a kid, you count down the clock and say you scored in the NHL,” Mayfield said. “Now I can say that. Not a lot of people can say that, so I’m pretty happy that I can now.”
Quine’s first came shorthanded, as he crashed the net, only to have Bracken Kearns’ centering feed bank off him and go in, tying the game 2-2 in the third period.
“To get the first one in the first game was something you always dream of. It’s a surreal experience that I’ll never forget,” Quine said.
It was a two-milestone night for Quine, who was also playing in his first-career NHL game. It was a long wait for the 23-year-old, who was originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2011 before re-entering the draft in 2013, when he was picked by the Islanders. Still, the chance to skate on NHL ice – and hit NHL twine – was well worth the wait.
“I was pretty nervous, but I just tried to make sure to have fun and think about how hard it’s been to get there and try to take advantage of it,” Quine said.
Quine and Mayfield saw some familiar faces in the Islanders room on Saturday. Sound Tigers leading scorer Bracken Kearns joined Quine on the emergency recall, while Christopher Gibson started in goal.
Everyone in the Islanders room was relieved to see Adam Pelech return to action on Saturday night, as the defenseman returned after missing 36 games due to a blood clot.
“I thought he played extremely well and did a lot of good things,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “You’ve got a guy who’s been injured and taken a long time out of the game going down and conditioning with our training staff, going down to Bridgeport and stepping in against talented players in Buffalo.”
Brian Gionta scored two goals, including the overtime winner, Evan Rodrigues scored his first-career goal for the Sabres, while Matt Moulson rounded out the scoring for Buffalo. John Tavares scored forced overtime with his 33rd goal of the season with 6:26 to play in the third.
The single point means the Islanders first-round playoff opponent is not set. If the Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow, they will play the Pittsburgh Penguins. If they lose, they will play the Florida Panthers. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
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ISLANDERS EDGED BY SABRES IN OT: HIGHLIGHTS & ANALYSIS
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