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Barzal's scorching between-the-legs goal lit a fire for Islanders

New York forward outworked Sabres defense before scoring, sparking team win

by Cristina Ledra @cledra / Staff Writer

Barzal goes between the legs

BUF@NYI: Barzal scores beautiful goal

Mathew Barzal fights off the pressure from the Sabres' defense, and scores a sweet between-the-legs goal to tie the game

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There's unfair and then there's whatever Mathew Barzal did against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Barzal outhustled and outmuscled the Sabres defense en route to a between-the-legs goal that is a certified goal of the year candidate. 

The Islanders forward, who is one of the fastest players in the NHL worked his way around Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who went tumbling away from the play, leaving Barzal the time and room to slow down from top speed to maneuver the puck through his legs and slide it into the net.

"It all happened pretty quick," Barzal said. "It's kind of a rolling puck there, so I just tried to put it to an area that he can't get his stick on it or anything. Once I knew I kind of had body position, I kind of felt him a little off-balance and took it to the net. I knew we were so far ahead of the play that I probably had a little bit of time. I felt like [Sabres goalie Carter] Hutton was down. 

"It's kind of a move that you do instinctual and you kind of just mess around with it in practice and you rarely do it in a game, so it's a lot of instincts and just kind of being in the moment and just reacting."

Barzal's ninth goal of the year tied the game and was the first of four second period goals for the Islanders, who beat the Sabres 5-2. 

"Barzy' scoring that goal and the way he did it, that lit a little bit of fire in us," Islanders forward Anders Lee said. 

Barzal is no stranger to highlight reel goals and said this one was probably a top two or three goal of his career, but when one helps spark a win, that's even better.

"That goal that Mat scored, obviously that gave us a real good boost and it was well needed," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "You're going to see a lot of it on replays tonight on a lot of the hockey channels. That was huge for us." staff writer Brian Compton contributed to this story. 

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