NEW YORK – The New York Islanders typically engage in high-scoring games. They've scored the second-most goals in the NHL. They give up the most.
The low-scoring Buffalo Sabres brought them to their level Wednesday night. Then the teams combined for three goals in the final nine minutes of play.
Not surprisingly, the Islanders benefited most from the burst.
Mathew Barzal continued his stellar rookie season, scoring with 1:08 gone in overtime to give the Islanders a 3-2 victory. Barzal buzzed from his own zone, spun Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and fired from the slot.
Buffalo fell to 9-20-8, including 4-12-6 in the last 22 games.
Saved by replay: It looked like Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner nominated himself for Save of the Year with 1:09 to play, diving to his left to get his glove on Josh Bailey's point-blank chance. Play continued until off-ice officials buzzed the referees with 34.8 seconds left, and the replay booth took a look.
The net cam showed the puck completely crossing the line, giving Bailey a goal and a 2-2 tie. The clock reset to 1:09.
Taking the lead: Kyle Okposo gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead with 8:27 to play, fighting off Andrew Ladd at the side of the net to lift home Evander Kane's rebound. The goal was the sixth of the season for Okposo, the former Islanders winger who was cheered during introductions but booed for the goal.
Opening the scoring: New York entered the game with a 12-1 record when potting the first goal. Jason Chimera did the honors with 3:51 gone in the second period.
The Islanders entered the Sabres' zone with speed, and Casey Cizikas sent a cross-ice pass to Cal Clutterbuck. Lehner stopped his shot, but no one picked up Chimera in the slot. He stood alone in front to bury the rebound.
Back-to-back: After going 25 games without a goal, the Sabres' Zemgus Girgensons has scored in two straight. He made it 1-1 with 9:43 off the clock in the second.
Isles goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped Marco Scandella's point shot, and the rebound went behind the net. Jack Eichel chased it down and found Girgensons in front for the quick shot and goal.
The assist was Eichel's 20th of the season. He has six goals and 14 points in the last 11 games.
Short stop: Sabres coach Phil Housley reminded and warned his team in the morning that New York scored two short-handed goals during the teams' first meeting. The Isles' short-handed unit was aggressive again, particularly on the opening shift of the second period. Lehner stopped Cizikas on a breakaway.
Blocked by the blocker: Sabres forward Jordan Nolan harassed Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg at the blue line early in the third period to earn a breakaway chance. Halak made a blocker save to keep the game tied, 1-1.
Slow start: The Sabres fell into a 10-1 shot hole just 7:23 into the game. Three of the Islanders' shots came during an unsuccessful power play.
Shifting gears: Extended zone time by the Sabres' line of center Evan Rodrigues, left wing Benoit Pouliot and right wing Jason Pominville with nine minutes gone finally turned the first period around. Buffalo closed the shot gap to 12-11 with 3:36 left in the first.
Neither team scored during the opening period. New York finished with a 14-11 shot advantage. It expanded its lead to 26-22 after two periods.
Buffalo had a 36-33 edge after regulation.
The lineup: In addition to the Rodrigues line, the Sabres used Eichel between Girgensons and Sam Reinhart; Ryan O'Reilly in the middle of Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo; and Jacob Josefson between Johan Larsson and Jordan Nolan.
Watching: Defenseman Victor Antipin was a healthy scratch for the third straight game and sixth time in the last eight. He was joined on the sidelines by defenseman Josh Gorges and forward Scott Wilson.
Next: The Sabres play their final game of 2017 at 7 p.m. Friday when they visit the New Jersey Devils.