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Tavares scores twice, fuels Islanders win against Sabres

Teams combine for four shorthanded goals in second period

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- John Tavares and Casey Cizikas each scored two goals to help the New York Islanders to a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center on Saturday.

Tavares and Cizikas scored shorthanded on the same penalty kill, and Josh Bailey scored at even strength in a span of 1:47 in the second period for New York (1-1-0). Anthony Beauvillier scored in the third period, and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in his first start of the season.

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Islanders highlights]

 

"We were good today," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "We felt good about it. We unfortunately let them back in it, we've got to get some decision makings and get in the film room a little bit. But we'll be fine."

Evander Kane scored twice shorthanded in the second period, and Jack Eichel scored in the third for Buffalo (0-1-1). Robin Lehner was pulled in the second after allowing four goals on 16 shots. Chad Johnson made 15 saves in relief.

Video: BUF@NYI: Eichel sets up Kane for shorthanded goal

"We obviously don't put ourselves in a good position to win a hockey game when you give up that many shorthanded goals and [in] the succession we gave them up," Eichel said. "It's definitely frustrating and it's something we need to correct."

Tavares scored the Islanders' first goal of the season 1:50 into the game when he finished a 2-on-1 with Jordan Eberle and put a wrist shot from the left circle past Lehner. New York was shutout 5-0 in its opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Video: BUF@NYI: Tavares buries Eberle's dish on the rush

"Much more positive effort," Tavares said.

After Tavares and Cizikas scored shorthanded goals 50 seconds apart, Lehner was pulled at 7:00 of the second period when Bailey took a pass from behind the net by Joshua Ho-Sang and scored from the right circle to make it 4-0.

Kane scored at 10:09. Halak went to play the puck behind his net but was stripped by Eichel, who passed to Kane in front for a one-timer.

Kane's second goal of the game came at 15:26 when he beat Halak on a wraparound after Ryan O'Reilly hit the crossbar.

"We obviously have to clean up the mistakes," Kane said. "If we don't give up the (two) shorthanded goals, it's a different game."

It was the first time since Nov. 18, 2000 that four shorthanded goals were scored in a game (Florida Panthers had one, Ottawa Senators had three).

"It was almost five," Weight said. "[Bailey's goal] was probably about two and a half seconds after the bell there. Pretty incredible. That's a rarity for sure. It's not something you want to get in the habit of."

Beauvillier made it 5-2 at 5:39 of the third period when he put Nick Leddy's rebound past Johnson for his first goal of the season.

Video: BUF@NYI: Beauvillier jams in rebound to pad lead

Eichel scored his first goal of the season with 3:44 remaining, putting a shot past Halak from right in front.

Cizikas made it 6-3 with an empty-net goal with 25 seconds left.

Video: BUF@NYI: Cizikas slaps home shorthanded goal

 

Goal of the game

Tavares made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 5:13 of the second period. He intercepted Nathan Beaulieu's pass in the Sabres zone, skated in alone and put a backhand shot past Lehner. It was the first of four shorthanded goals scored in the period.

"That was different," Tavares said. "I didn't even really realize it until we came into the dressing room. It probably wasn't the best power plays on either side. I'm just happy we came in on the right end of it."

Video: BUF@NYI: Tavares tallies his second goal shorthanded

 

Save of the game

Halak preserved the Islanders' 5-3 lead with 2:49 left in the third period when he managed to get his glove on Kyle Okposo's wrist shot from the top of the right circle.

 

Highlight of the game

Cizikas' shorthanded goal gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead at 6:03 of the second. He took a pass from Andrew Ladd and put a slap shot from the left circle past Lehner.

"We did a good job of creating chances, playing with speed and not turning the puck over in the neutral zone," Cizikas said. "We did a good job of getting pucks in deep, forechecking … when you do that, we're a dangerous team."

Video: BUF@NYI: Cizikas slaps home shorthanded goal

 

They said it

"It's called execution. We're dropping the puck on the power play. It's supposed to be dropped at the dot lane and not at the middle of the ice. Playing right to the strength of the [penalty kill]." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley "That was a crazy, crazy second period." -- Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak

 

Need to know

Kane is the fifth Sabres player to score two shorthanded goals in a game, and the first since Alexei Zhitnik on March 19, 1998. … The Islanders hadn't scored twice on the same penalty since Michael Grabner scored both against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 27, 2014. … Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck did not play because of a lower-body injury. He is day to day. … Leddy played his 500th NHL game.

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the New Jersey Devils on Monday (3 p.m. ET; MSG-B, MSG, NHL.TV)

Islanders: Host the St. Louis Blues on Monday (1 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Tavares, Cizikas lead Isles past Sabres in 6-3 win

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