Sabres fall to Islanders 3-2 in OT

Eichel scoring streak reaches 16 games

WBEN Newsroom
December 14, 2019 - 5:16 pm
Buffalo Sabres

USA Today Sports Images

(WGR550-Kyle Powell) - A hard-fought game didn't go the Buffalo Sabres' way, but they were able to salvage a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders inside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

In defeat, Jack Eichel's point streak reached 16 games long, and his late, third-period heroics helped force the extra frame in hostile territory.

With 5:11 gone in the first period, the Islanders got on the scoreboard first.  New York put together an extended offensive zone possession, and made the most of the opportunity. 

A loose puck was corralled by Linus Ullmark, but the netminder tried to play the puck to a defenseman in hopes of escaping the attack.  Instead, the puck was turned over to Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier, who then fed teammate Michael Dal Colle for a one-time shot that beat Ullmark.  The goal was Dal Colle's second of the season.

Then with about 90 seconds left in the opening frame, Marco Scandella delivered a clean hit on Islanders' forward Ross Johnston, who was felled after the collision.  Teammate Josh Bailey came to Johnston's defense; receiving a double-minor penalty for roughing in the process.

That would essentially conclude matters in the first, with the scoring reading 1-0 New York.  Another shutout period for Islanders goaltending against the Sabres meant the team's current shutout streak against Buffalo reached 86:32.  The last Sabres goal against the Islanders was still back on March 30, 2019 - a third period, Victor Olofsson powerplay goal in a 5-1 loss on the road.

Fittingly it was Olofsson who finally got Buffalo on the board in the second period, ending the team's scoreless streak against New York at 92:43.

With Brock Nelson of the Islanders in the penalty box for a holding the stick minor, Olofsson wired a one-timer past goalie Semyon Varlamov to even the score at 1-1.  It was Victor's 14th goal of the season, eighth on the man advantage, and also helped Jack Eichel extend his NHL-best active point streak to 16 games.  The captain received a secondary assist on the tying tally.

In successfully registering a point in 16-straight games, Eichel now owns the longest streak of consecutive games with a point in the NHL this season.  His assist helped him pass Buffalo, New York's own Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, who put together a 15-game streak earlier this fall.

The captain also moved himself up the leaderboard for longest streaks by U.S.-born players.  Eichel now trails only Kane (20 games in the 2018-19 season; 26 games in the 2015-16 season) all-time, and is now in a tie with former Buffalo Sabres forward Tim Connolly.  Connolly's 16-game streak came during his 2009-10 campaign in western New York.

The Sabres got themselves into penalty trouble after tying the game, though.  A string of three consecutive minors had the Buffalo penalty killing units working hard for the majority of the middle stanza, but they were able to weather the storm and go 3-for-3 against the Islanders' powerplay.

The Sabres' special teams efforts helped keep the game tied a goal apiece through 40 minutes of play.

New York seized their lead back with just 4:50 gone in the final period of regulation.  Forward Jordan Eberle's shot from the point found its way through some net-front traffic and past Ullmark as the Islanders snagged the 2-1 advantage.

It was getting late early inside the Coliseum, but with 1:46 left in regulation, Eichel stepped into save the day on the powerplay.

As advertised, the Islanders were tough as could be on the penalty kill.  Mathew Barzal sat in the box in the waning minutes for roughing.  Buffalo went to work in the New York zone, and with around two-minutes left Ullmark vacated his net for the extra skater to give the Sabres a 6-on-4 advantage.  After a scrum in the corner, Rasmus Ristolainen emerged with the puck and got it to Eichel, whose backhand seconds later beat Varlamov and tied things, 2-2 and force overtime.

The game would end 3:04 into the extra period.  Already with a pair of assists in the contest, Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier was sprung on a breakaway after New York forced a turnover to be freed out of their own end.  Beauvillier's forehand shot beat Ullmark and dropped the curtain on Buffalo via a 3-2 final.

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