UNIONDALE – Jean-Gabriel Pageau's power-play goal with 4:52 left snapped a tie and the New York Islanders frustrated the Buffalo Sabres for the third time in a week with a 3-2 win Monday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Pageau banged home his seventh goal of the season on the backhand after goalie Linus Ullmark couldn't control the rebound of Oliver Wahlstrom's slapshot. It was Pageau's third goal of the season against Buffalo, two of which have been game-winners.
The Sabres outshot the Islanders 36-23 in the game and held them to just five shots on goal over the first 34 minutes of play, but Semyon Varlamov made many key saves to keep the Islanders in range.
The Islanders improved to 5-0-1 at home as they opened a stretch of nine games out of 10 in the Coliseum. With Carolina's loss to Tampa Bay, they are the only team left in the NHL without a regulation loss at home.
The veteran defenseman's season is over after he tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee.
Dramatic third period: The teams played to a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes, and the Islanders took a 2-1 lead at 3:01 when Matt Martin whirled and fired a screened shot through Colin Miller and past Ullmark.
The Sabres tied things on the power play at 5:48 as Sam Reinhart picked a rebound of Victor Olofsson's shot out of mid-air with a spectacular curl of his stick.
Breaking on top again: The Sabres were full marks for a strong first period in which they had a 12-3 advantage in shots. They got rewarded with the opening goal for the second straight game when Curtis Lazar tipped home Henri Jokiharju's shot from the right point at 17:15. Casey Mittelstadt worked the puck out of the corner to Jokiharju to earn the secondary assist.
Going Fourth: The goal was Lazar's fourth of the year, an unexpected bonus from the team's fourth-line center – who is now third on the team behind Olofsson (6) and Reinhart (6). And Lazar has more goals than the combined total of three from Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, Kyle Okposo and Cody Eakin.
Hosts get even: Isles captain Anders Lee, who scored three goals in the two games in Buffalo last week, burned the Sabres again at 3:56 of the second, taking a pass from Jordan Eberle and deking the puck around Ullmark. Lazar was involved in that goal as well, failing to get the puck out of the zone past defenseman Ryan Pulock. Lazar rapped his stick on the boards in frustration.
Injury report: Winger Tobias Rieder left for good late in the first period with an apparent shoulder injury on a hit from Pulock. Defenseman Will Borgen sat out with a sore hand suffered after blocking a shot Saturday in New Jersey.
Coach Ralph Krueger said Borgen had a better day on Monday, experiencing less pain than he did Sunday, and could play Tuesday night in New Jersey.