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by Rob Crean / Buffalo Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Michael Grabner scored twice and rookie goalies Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin combined to stop 36 shots in the New York Islanders' 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

Matt Moulson, Jack Hillen and P.A. Parenteau also scored in the game the Islanders led 4-0 before Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe scored goals 5 seconds apart late in the third period.

The Islanders improved to 15-24-7 with their second victory in seven games (2-4-1), with both victories coming against Buffalo.

Gerbe set a franchise record for the fastest goals by one player. His first goal, on a backhander from the right circle, came with 3:22 left. He then scored on a wrist shot. ...more.

Although the plays did not figure into the outcome of the game, Nathan Gerbe brought the fans at HSBC Arena to their feet by scoring two goals just five seconds apart late in the third period to set a Sabres franchise record for the fastest two goals by one player.  His first goal was highlight-reel quality as he stick-handled through two Islander defenders before rifling a backhand into the top corner of the net to beat Isles goalie Kevin Poulin.  Off the ensuing face-off, Gerbe poked the puck away from an Islanders defenseman, took a feed from Mike Grier and buried a shot past Lawson from the slot.  Gerbe now has three goals in the last two games and has compiled five points (4-1-5) in the last six games after being a healthy scratch in the previous four outings. Tonight, he set career-highs for time on ice (20:22) and shots (8) in a game.

The Islanders’ goaltending tandem of Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin combined for 36 saves to defeat the Sabres.  Lawson got the start and stopped all 10 shots he faced in the first period.  However, Poulin replaced Lawson to start the second period after Lawson left the game with a left knee injury, according to the Islanders’ team Web site.  Poulin went on to record 26 saves, including 17 in the third period, to earn the win.  The netminders entered the game with 10 combined games of NHL experience between them, all of which have come this season.

Those (games) are tough but our start wasn’t good enough, too many missed chances. You’re not going to win games. - Forward Jason Pominville
- Patrick Lalime replaced Ryan Miller in goal at 10:30 of the first period to make just his second appearance in the last two months.  Lalime’s last appearance came on Dec. 17 in Florida when he played the final two periods in relief of Miller.  Prior to that, he had not played in a game since starting at home against Tampa Bay on Nov. 20.  Miller made his 24th consecutive start tonight, the longest such streak in the NHL this season.

- Thomas Vanek (2-6-8 in the previous four games) and Tyler Ennis (2-4-6 in the previous three games) each had his streak of consecutive multi-point games snapped.

- The loss dropped the Sabres’ record to 7-3-1 over the last 11 games.

- For the second straight night, Patrick Kaleta was unable to finish the game after re-aggravating his hand injury.  Kaleta missed seven games with the injury from Jan. 1-15.  He returned to the lineup on Tuesday, then left Thursday night’s game in Boston in the second period after taking a slap shot off the injured hand.  On Friday, Kaleta logged 4:44 of ice time before leaving the contest.

- Cody McCormick played just 7:27.  Following the game, Lindy Ruff said that the forward had gotten sick during the game.

- Thomas Vanek and Marc-Andre Gragnani each rang a shot off the crossbar during the second period as the Sabres created numerous scoring chances but came away empty after finishing with nine shots for the period.

- The Sabres failed to score a power play goal for the first time in five games.  The PP unit had gone 6-for-14 (42.9%) over the previous four games combined.

- Prior to the game, the Sabres honored Buffalo resident Sean Green with the J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award, presented each year to the coach whose contributions to amateur hockey in Western New York “best exemplifies the knowledge, teaching, love of the game and gentle humanity of Mike.”

- Defensemen Chris Butler and Craig Rivet were scratched for Buffalo while Drew Stafford missed his second straight game with what has been termed a “mild” groin injury by Lindy Ruff.

- Goaltender Rick DiPietro, defenseman Milan Jurcina and left wing Trevor Gillies were scratched for New York. Jurcina missed his third straight game with an upper body injury.

These same two teams will be back at it again on Long Island for a 3 p.m. matinee game on Sunday, marking the completion of a weekend home-and-home series for the Sabres and Islanders.  It will also be the third meeting between the clubs in a nine-day span.  In addition to tonight’s game, the Islanders defeated the Sabres by a 5-3 margin last Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.  With tonight’s win, the Islanders now lead the season series 2-0-0.

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