NEW YORK – While the Sabres haven't looked great on the road, they'd been able to gain points in four straight. That streak came to an ugly end Friday.
The New York Islanders rolled to a 5-1 victory over Buffalo, stopping the Sabres' modest 1-0-3 stretch. The Sabres were looking to get points in five straight road games for the first time since March 2012. They didn't come close in Barclays Center.
The offense was inept and goaltender Anders Nilsson had an off night. Buffalo fell to 0-2-2 in its last four overall. The Islanders and Sabres finished the game tied with Detroit for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.
Unlucky seven: For the seventh straight game, the Sabres fell into a 1-0 hole. New York scored the only goal of the first period with 7:55 left. Anthony Beauvillier reached out for a quality deflection. Nilsson got a piece of the puck with his blocker, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
Doubling the lead: Ryan Strome beat Sam Reinhart to a loose puck in the neutral zone, streaked to the Sabres’ end and took a shot at Nilsson. The goalie couldn’t handle it, and Strome poked home the rebound with 5:24 left in the second.
Tripling the lead: The Islanders’ power play buried the Sabres in their own zone late in the second, and the puck control paid off with 38.2 seconds left. John Tavares cut to the front of the net, and the puck bounced home from a crowded crease.
The Sabres went into the second intermission in a 3-0 hole. New York had a 23-16 shot advantage, including 16-9 during the middle period.
Quadrupling the lead: Andrew Ladd cleanly beat Nilsson to the glove side with 5:35 gone in the third period.
Quintupling the lead: Alan Quine danced around Jake McCabe, slashed the stick of Johan Larsson and fed Calvin de Haan for a tap-in with 7:26 to play. Nilsson smashed his stick after the goal.
Ending the shutout: Zemgus Girgensons scored on a backhand with 1:03 to play.
Fight for a milestone: Playing in his 300th game with the Sabres, left wing Marcus Foligno opened it with a quick trip to the penalty box. It was payback. Foligno fought Isles defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who boarded Jack Eichel in the previous meeting.
Injured forward Tyler Ennis, who has played 375 games with Buffalo, is the only player on the team with more appearances than Foligno.
Warm welcome: During the first commercial break, fans rose for a standing ovation as a tribute video to Kyle Okposo played on the scoreboard. The longtime Islanders forward, playing his first game in Brooklyn as a visitor, responded with heartfelt waves.
Line changes: Just one line – Ryan O’Reilly in the middle of Foligno and Reinhart – remained from Thursday’s home loss to Carolina. Evander Kane joined Eichel and Okposo. Larsson centered for Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Gionta. William Carrier rejoined the lineup after being a scratch and played with Derek Grant and Matt Moulson. Players alternated during the third period with Buffalo in its three-goal hole.
Forward Nicolas Deslauriers and defenseman Cody Franson were the Sabres’ scratches.
Unique giveaway: The Islanders held Ralph Macchio Bobblehead Night to honor the Long Island native who starred in “The Karate Kid.” The likeness had an Islanders uniform and the requisite headband while doing the “crane kick” pose. Macchio’s daughter, Julia, sang the national anthem.
“My whole childhood was at Nassau Coliseum,” Macchio told the Islanders’ website. “Some of my greatest memories of my childhood were in that building and with this team.”
Next: The Sabres and the NHL will take a three-day Christmas break, with no activities on or off the ice. Buffalo comes back with three games in five days, and all are against Atlantic Division foes. The Sabres visit Detroit on Tuesday, host Boston on Thursday and travel to face the Bruins for a New Year’s Eve matinee.