BROOKLYN – The New York Islanders' opener was a debacle, so Sabres coach Phil Housley told his squad to be ready for a hungry team.
The Isles feasted on Buffalo. It was a six-course meal, one the crowd ate up.
The Sabres fell apart Saturday – literally in one instance – in dropping a 6-3 decision in rollicking Barclays Center. The Islanders' 1-0 lead quadrupled in a span of 1:47 as they sent Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner from the crease to the dressing room.
Officials tried calling Lehner back a short time later when backup Chad Johnson's skate blade fell off, but Buffalo equipment managers Dave Williams and George Babcock worked quickly to keep Johnson in the game.
New York improved to 1-1 after suffering a 5-0 loss in Columbus on Friday. The Sabres fell to 0-1-1.
Short fuse: The teams combined for four short-handed goals in a wild second period. It was the first NHL game with four short-handed goals since Ottawa scored three and Florida had one Nov. 18, 2000.
The Isles scored the first two in 50 seconds to take a 3-0 lead. They added an even-strength goal 57 seconds later.
Instead of folding, the Sabres' penalty-killers went to work. Evander Kane scored back-to-back goals while short-handed. It was the first time Buffalo had multiple short-handed goals since Christian Ehrhoff and Marcus Foligno did it Jan. 25, 2014.
Kane became the first Buffalo player with two shorties in the same game since March 19, 1998, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The end for Lehner: Lehner stopped 12 of 16 shots in exactly 27 minutes.
He certainly had a disappointing night, but he could have used help. The Islanders took a 2-0 lead when Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu put a pass perfectly onto the stick of New York's John Tavares. Casey Cizikas got behind Victor Antipin and ripped home a far-side shot off the post from the top of the circle to make it 3-0.
The Islanders' even-strength goal came when Joshua Ho-Sang came out of the box to chase down a puck, giving New York three guys around the net to just one for Buffalo.
Short on effort: The Sabres earned their two short-handed goals in the final 9:51 of the second. Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak helped. The Sabre-for-a-game was lazy on both.
Halak handed the puck to Jack Eichel behind the net, allowing the center to feed Kane in front for an empty net to make it 4-1.
Kane was flying on his second goal. After buzzing the zone with Ryan O'Reilly, Kane took a wide shot, chased it behind the net and dumped it home on the opposite side while Halak lollygagged in the crease.
Third-period goals: Anthony Beauvillier dimmed the Sabres' chances, scoring on a rebound with 14:21 left to make it 5-2. Eichel scored his first of the season with 3:44 to play, standing in front for Rasmus Ristolainen's shot and going around Halak with the puck.
The Sabres nearly made it 5-4 with 1:13 to play. Sam Reinhart's point-blank shot went off Halak's glove and bounced on the goal line, but video review determined no goal.
The Isles' Cizikas scored into an empty net with 25.4 seconds to play.
Breakdown: The Islanders took advantage of the Sabres' aggressiveness to take a 1-0 lead with just 1:50 gone.
As defenseman Marco Scandella pinched, the Isles' Jordan Eberle broke up the play and got behind Scandella for a two-on-one. Buffalo defenseman Matt Tennyson hit the ice near puck-carrying Eberle, but it didn't interrupt the cross-ice pass to Tavares. The New York captain easily beat an off-balance Lehner, who flailed at the shot and ended up outside the trapezoid behind the goal line.
This is a call: After Tavares' goal was announced, fans chanted, "Sign your contract." The captain is a pending unrestricted free agent.
Big stops: Lehner sent the Sabres into the first intermission in just a 1-0 hole with some big stops. He had a couple of two-save sequences.
First, he got his pad on Nikolay Kulemin's shot and stopped Thomas Hickey's rebound chance. The better one-two punch came with 1:20 left. Lehner thwarted a driving Brock Nelson and quickly slid left to rob Beauvillier.
Fourth time: The Sabres had previously opened their road schedule against the Islanders three times in franchise history: a 5-2 win Oct. 13, 1979; a 3-2 loss Oct. 6, 2007; and a 7-1 victory Oct. 13, 2008.
Next: The Sabres flew back to Buffalo following the game and will host New Jersey at 3 p.m. Monday in a Columbus Day matinee. The Devils beat Colorado, 4-1, Saturday as defenseman Will Butcher became the first player in New Jersey history to record three points in his NHL debut.