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NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at NY Islanders

(Monday, April 16th)

Final Score: Buffalo 3, NY Islanders 2

Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Daniel Briere scored the eventual game- winner in the second period, and the Buffalo Sabres held on for a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Nassau Coliseum.

Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Sabres, who now have a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series.

Ryan Miller stopped 20 of 22 shots in the victory.

Ryan Smyth had a goal and one assist, and Trent Hunter also lit the lamp for the Islanders. Rick DiPietro finished the game with 32 saves.

Game 4 of this series is slated for Wednesday evening at the Coliseum.

Both teams came out hard in an aggressive and fast-paced first period. The two sides combined for 19 shots on goal, but both netminders proved up to the task of keeping the game scoreless.

Things got more eventful, though, as four goals were scored in a span of 7:39 in the second.

After leveling Hunter with a huge hit, Mair forced a turnover in the defensive zone, went the other way and charged hard toward the net. Putting on the brakes just in front of the crease, he then re-directed a perfect pass from Chris Drury into the back of the net at 5:17 to make it a 1-0 Buffalo lead.

Buffalo then grabbed a 2-0 edge at 8:38, following a huge scrum in front of the crease and a lengthy review. Vanek was finally credited with the tally, after officials determined he had jammed the disc across the goal line prior to the whistle being blown.

The Islanders quickly responded, however, as Smyth dug the puck out of the corner and threw it on net. Hunter was surrounded by three Buffalo players, but managed to poke the rebound shot through the legs of Miller at 9:52 to cut it to 2-1.

The Sabres re-opened their two-goal margin on a 5-on-3 power play a short time later. Dainius Zubrus tried to make a cross-ice pass out in front of the net, and Briere corralled the bouncing puck, took a shot, grabbed his own rebound and wristed it over DiPietro's right shoulder at 12:56.

Smyth made it a 3-2 game and capped the second period frenzy with just eight seconds remaining, as he stationed himself just to the left of Miller, grabbed a pass from Randy Robitaille through heavy traffic in front and slapped the puck over the netminder's shoulder.

The Isles couldn't get anything going in the third period, and with strong pressure inside of the final two minutes, went down a man as Robitaille was whistled for tripping with 1:34 to play. The sellout crowd was enraged at the call, causing a brief delay as fans littered the ice with debris.

"They're passionate fans," said DiPietro after the game. "If we couldn't get penalties I'm sure guys would be throwing their sticks on the ice too. It was a tough one to take, especially down a goal with a minute left. We were just getting ready to jump out and get that sixth skater on and all of a sudden we're killing a penalty.

"It delays the game a little bit, but they're passionate and they want to see us win," DiPietro added. "Obviously they felt that call wasn't justified and they showed their emotion towards it."

A pesky Buffalo defense squashed any chance of an Islanders comeback before the final horn sounded.

"I think we didn't let them get the drop on us," said Miller. "We battled hard in the first, both teams were going end to end and battling hard. We made a few mistakes tonight, but for the most part we were pretty tight, a couple of turnovers cost us two goals but we were able to capitalize on some opportunities."

Game Notes

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance...The eighth-seeded Islanders have not recorded a postseason victory at home since a 5-3 win over Toronto on April 28, 2002...New York was decent on home ice during the regular season, going 22-13-6 in Uniondale...The Islanders went 0-for-4 on the power play, while Buffalo finished 1-for-6.

04/17 00:11:36 ET

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