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NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at Buffalo

(Monday, January 1st)

Final Score: Buffalo 3, NY Islanders 1

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ryan Miller made 29 saves as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the New York Islanders, 3-1, at HSBC Arena. The lone goal by the Islanders ended a franchise-record scoreless streak that lasted 186 minutes and 31 seconds.

Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who swept their four-game homestand and have won seven of nine overall. Paul Gaustad and Jochen Hecht added the other markers.

Jason Blake had the lone tally for the Islanders, who have dropped three straight and entered the game having been shut out in their previous two contests. Rick DiPietro stopped 31-of-33 shots in defeat.

Buffalo, which came in having tallied on just three of its last 20 power play opportunities, opened the scoring on the man-advantage. Brian Campbell, an immovable force at the top of the slot this season, took a feed from Afinogenov and fired a slapshot through traffic that deflected off DiPietro. The rebound fell into the crease, and Gaustad quickly knocked it past the netminder for the 1-0 lead at 8:06.

"Just getting to the net," said Gaustad, describing what led to his goal. "I've been thinking to myself (that) where I score most of my goals is in front of the paint. I haven't been getting there lately, just getting there, cleaning up the trash that lays around there. I've been playing well, I just haven't been getting the breaks. It felt good tonight."

Miller robbed the Islanders with 7:38 remaining, drawing a huge reaction from the crowd as he stretched out for a diving save on a wrist shot by Richard Park after the initial shot by Arron Asham deflected loudly off the crossbar.

"The puck laid flat for Asham," said Miller after the game. "He's always had a hard shot. He kind of crossed me up, and it hit the crossbar. I was looking to where it went. I saw Park had slipped to the side, (and I) just got back."

Buffalo grabbed a 2-0 lead with 8:33 remaining in the second period. Off a turnover by the Islanders in their own zone, Derek Roy corralled the loose disc and sent a forward pass to Afinogenov, who weaved through a couple defensemen and fired a wrist shot over DiPietro's left shoulder for his 18th goal of the season.

New York tested Miller just six times in the middle stanza.

Blake's tally ruined the shutout bid and cut the Isle's deficit to 2-1 with 8:19 remaining in the contest. The left winger got around Buffalo defenseman Toni Lydman and cut through the crease before sending a backhand shot past Miller inside the far post.

Hecht added an empty-net tally with 15.5 seconds remaining to seal the fate of the Islanders.

"The last three games we've dried up a little bit offensively, but the last five games I believe we've only given up one even strength goal," said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. "The way they fought back today, we had some great opportunities, you never know. I'm not concerned at all. Eventually we're going to score some goals."

Game Notes

The game marked a return to Buffalo for Nolan, who guided the Sabres for two years, and was the league's coach of the year in 1997...Buffalo hasn't allowed a power play goal in 18 straight chances dating back to December 21 at Nashville...Blake leads the Islanders in goals (22) and points (39) on the season...Gaustad ended a 17-game scoreless drought with his first period goal...This was the second of four meetings between the teams this season. The Sabres posted a 3-0 shutout October 29th on Long Island.

01/01 20:07:01 ET

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