It took eight games, but the Buffalo Sabres have a victory.
The Sabres avoided the worst start in franchise history as Tyler Ennis scored the deciding goal in the shootout for a 4-3 victory against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night.
"It's good to finally get a win," said goaltender Ryan Miller, who stopped 41 shots through 65 minutes of play and two of three in the tiebreaker. "Gives us a chance to feel good for a while, and hopefully we can build."
The Sabres came to Long Island with seven losses, six in regulation, in as many games. They appeared headed for another loss before Marcus Foligno tied the game with 2:01 left in regulation.
"You build and keep working hard. [Tuesday night] it paid off," Foligno said. "Hopefully, this can change our confidence."
New York's Matt Moulson scored to start the shootout, but Thomas Vanek matched him in the opening round. After Miller stopped Frans Nielsen, Ennis drilled a wrist shot past Evgeni Nabokov and Miller ended the game by denying John Tavares.
The Islanders, who got 31 saves from Nabokov, fell to 2-2-2 and are winless in three games.
Nielsen, Matt Martin and Moulson scored for the Islanders, who played the first of a four-game homestand. Ennis and Vanek had second-period goals for Buffalo, which had its best offensive game of the season.
The Sabres also overcame the loss of center Zemgus Girgensons, who left after being hit in the face by teammate Tyler Myers' shot and did not return.
"You have to start somewhere, and it's important that we started now," Miller said.
Tavares took a pass from Lubomir Visnovsky in the right circle and fired a slap shot that hit Moulson's leg and deflected past Miller at 8:44 of the third period for a power-play goal, breaking a 2-2 tie. Tavares drew the power play when Buffalo's Steve Ott was called for holding him away from the play.
But Foligno tied it with 2:01 remaining in regulation when Myers picked off a bad clearing pass by Matt Carkner and fed him in the high slot for a shot that beat Nabokov through traffic.
Andrew MacDonald had the best chance in overtime, but Miller got his right pad on the defenseman's backhander from just outside the crease.
"We put a lot of pucks on net [Tuesday night]," Tavares said. "We didn't get the result we wanted. When we have a lead, we have to bear down and find a way to get the job done."
Islanders coach Jack Capuano, while not happy with the outcome, had few complaints about his team's play.
"Our discipline was there, but we played physical tonight," Capuano said. "They're a physical team, there's no question. Our guys stuck together. They played a pretty good hockey game [Tuesday night] in all aspects. I'm proud of the effort they put in and they probably should have been rewarded for that. We'll take the point at home and move on to [the Edmonton Oilers] Thursday night."
The Sabres sandwiched a pair of unsuccessful power plays around one by the Islanders before the game was eight minutes old. Both teams had opportunities before the Islanders opened the scoring at 13:49 of the opening period.
Nielsen took a pass from Josh Bailey and raced into the Sabres' zone with speed. He did a toe drag as he entered the left circle to give himself a better angle, then ripped a wrist shot that went past Miller's glove and caught the top corner just inside the far post. It was the third goal in six games for Nielsen, who had six in 48 games last season.
Miller was busy for the rest of the period, which ended with the Islanders holding their 1-0 lead and outshooting Buffalo 16-11.
The Sabres picked up their play and tied the game at 5:24 of the second period. Nabokov stopped Christian Ehrhoff's bouncer, but he couldn't find the puck as it leaked through him and came to rest in the crease. Ennis got to the loose puck first and jammed it in for his first of the season.
New York went back in front at 8:08 on a goal by its fourth line. Casey Cizikas controlled the puck behind the net to the right of Miller and found Martin crashing the net. Martin slammed the puck behind Miller for his first of the season.
However, Tavares was called for high sticking 13 seconds after Martin's goal, and the Sabres capitalized to even the game at 9:20. Cody Hodgson's feed from the lower left circle found an unchecked Vanek alone in front for an easy deflection that made it 2-2. It was Vanek's third of the season.
Vanek's goal marked just the second time in eight games that the Sabres scored more than one goal.
The Sabres played without Patrick Kaleta, who was suspended for 10 games by the NHL earlier in the day for a hit to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on Oct. 10.
Material from team media was used in this report