NEW YORK -- Matt Moulson said that the timing of his Oct. 27 trade from the New York Islanders to the Buffalo Sabres was not exactly ideal.
Just two weeks earlier his wife Alicia had given birth to the couple's second child, a son they named George. With a 14-month-old daughter already in the mix, Moulson was forced to leave his young and growing family. And a quick look at the Sabres' schedule revealed Moulson wouldn't be back to play against the Islanders on Long Island until March 15.
But there was a game prior that would give Moulson an opportunity to say goodbye one last time to friends while spending extra time with his family.
"When I got traded I was on the computer checking the schedule about two seconds later," Moulson said. "It was good to see that this game was so close to the trade. I knew I would be coming back and be able to see them."
"This game" is Moulson's second as a Sabre, a contest Thursday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-CA). It's a building and team Moulson has plenty of history with. As a member of the Islanders, Moulson scored 10 goals and 20 points in 22 games against the Rangers.
The game Thursday didn't just represent an opportunity to become familiar with an old rival. It gave him a crucial extra day to reconnect with family and friends.
"I was able to actually get home and see my family [Wednesday]. That was great. I probably won't be able to see them for another month," Moulson said Thursday. "It was great [Wednesday]. It made me miss them a little less. It's good to be kind of settled. The first 48 hours were a little hectic. It almost seems like ages ago that I was traded. Everyone says it goes by quick and it's been pretty quick."
Moulson hosted good friend and Islanders captain John Tavares at his home Wednesday and took the time to reconnect with former teammates, including forward Kyle Okposo, who is the godfather of both of Moulson's children. It could be the last time he sees the group for a while.
"I had [Tavares] over [Wednesday]. It was almost like saying goodbye again," Moulson said. "It was sad all over again."
After leaving for Buffalo under such hectic circumstances, the game at MSG was a welcome, if brief return to the area. It afforded Moulson a chance to retrieve some essentials as he continues to settle with his new team in Buffalo.
"I had to pick up my winter coat," Moulson said. "Because it's freezing in Buffalo."