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Pre-game:

The Islanders enter tonight’s game with a lot at stake. They know they need to win or else their season could very well be over.

Some interesting notes heading into tonight’s game

-Jack Capuano will not be behind the bench tonight due to the flu. Instead it will be first year assistant head coach Doug Weight who will serve as the interim head coach for the night.

-Kevin Poulin will be the Islanders starter, even after being pulled 1:35 into the Monday afternoon game.

1st Period

20:00- Gametime folks

18:39- A mad scramble in front leads to Tyler Myers scoring to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead early. Not the start the Islanders wanted. Miscommunication between A-Mac and Streit lead to the goal. 

15:31- Though the Islanders haven't played strong, it is an improved effort from yesterday's game against the Senators. The Islanders don't seem as flat and are showing more heart and passion. 

13:30- Just as I praise them, the Islanders nearly make a costly mistake. Bad giveaway by Staios nearly lead to another goal and then the Islanders sloppy defesne forced an iceing.

10:49- At the first T.V. timeout The Islanders have managed seven shots. A good thing since the Islanders could barley get any yesterday. Last Isles possesion they had some pressure, including a Jurcina point shot, but couldn't really hit the net. Down one they're showing signs of life.

9:09- Islanders bad turnover turns into a two on one chance for the Sabres, but they flub on the chance and the puck sat in front of Poulin and was swept away.

8:02- Toronto is trailing the NJ Devils 1-0 in the first period. 

7:07- Jason Pominville takes a high sticking penalty.

5:07- The Sabres did a good job of preventing the Islanders from entering the zone and not allowing them to set up their power play. Islanders got some late chances and put three shots on net during the man advantage. 

2:06- Islanders try to set up play in front, but the Sabres able to knock them off the puck and it some how ends up under Ryan Miller.

00:52.4- Matt Moulson gets a shot off from his knees, but Miller eats it up. 
 
After the Buzzer: Islanders PA Parenteau gets into a shoving match with Patrick Kaleta and starts a small scrum. Looks like they'll both get penalties. 

End of the Period: Islanders 0 Sabres 1 

First Intermission: 


(Photo Credit: Gary Harding)

It was a much better start than yesterday from the Islanders, but they end the first down by one. An early goal by Tyler Myers off a defensive miscommunication by Andrew MacDonald and Mark Streit gave the sabres the early 1-0 lead. Here are some highlights and thoughts from the first period.

- The Islanders need to play with more urgency. You saw it momentarily here and there, but the team still isn’t playing this game like it’s a playoff game.

- The Islanders power play was sluggish and couldn’t create any chances till the final minute of the man advantage. They got three shots on net, but they need to be able to enter the zone a lot better.

- For his part, Kevin Poulin played well in the first. The Islanders made some poor defensive mistakes and turnovers that forced Poulin to make some tough saves. He did stop 12 of the 13 shots he faced.

- Defensive mistakes can’t happen… enough said.

- Islanders outshot the Sabres 14 to 13.

- Mark Streit led Islanders defensemen in ice time with 7:01.

- Matt Moulson led Islanders forwards in ice time with 6:44

- Everyone knows how fiery Doug Weight can be, now is the time to use that to motivate HIS GUYS tonight and get them to a victory.

2nd Period

19:14- Islanders and Sabres start the period on a four on four.  

18:47- Islanders able to generate a chance, but stopped by Miller.

16:13- Thomas Vanek makes it 2-0 as the Islanders seemed confused on the change. Sabres had four on three over the Islanders and made them pay the price. Islanders digging themselves a whole on that. 

14:45- Grabner nearly cuts the the game to a one goal game again, but his shot hits the right hand post. 

12:48- Ryan Miller robbes the Islanders of two goals. Stopped Brian Rolston's shot on the breakaway and then stops the rebound shot by Josh Bailey. Islanders starting to wake up, but so is Ryan Miller. 

10:54- Ryan Miller grabs a flukey shot out of the air. Another big save by Miller, who has made some big saves for his team. The Islanders are now getting their scoring chances, but Miller has been excellent tonight. 

7:19- After the Islander had started creating chances, the Sabres have come back and forced the play in the Isles zone. They haven't been able to clear the zone and the Sabres have been able to cycle. 

3:24- Kevin Poulin forced to make another big save on a Sabres shot. Keeps the Islanders within 2. 

2:46- Jay Pandolfo is leveled and Matt Martin comes to his aid. He dropped the gloves with Mike Weber to defend his teammate and try and jumpstart the Islanders. Martin did this yesterday too. 

00.4- Poulin makes another big save, this time on the penalty kill, to keep the Sabres only up by 2. 

End of the Period: Islanders 0 Sabres 2

Second Intermission:



The Islanders saw themselves fall behind 2-0 this period after Thomas Vanek was able to score on a very poor Islanders change. This allowed the Sabres a four on three chance as several Islander players seemed to be confused or took their time during a change. Now for some quick highlights and thoughts on the second period.

- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Had to get the frustration out.

- The Islanders actually had several chances to score, including a breakaway by Brian Rolston and then a rebound shot by Josh Bailey. Ryan Miller denied both shots, of course. Then there was a shot by Michael Grabner that hit the post a minute after the Sabres had taken the 2-0 lead.

- The Islanders towards the end of the period were sinking back into their old ways and allowing the Sabres to control the play in the Islanders end.

- Minus the lone goal of the period, which wasn’t even his fault, Poulin has looked strong this period. He’s made some very crucial saves to keep the Sabres from running away with the lead.

- If you’ve become too infuriated to watch the game or want to mute the T.V and listen to something else then take a listen to this week’s edition of The Power Play.  We had Kevin DeLury of the New York Rangers Blog stop by to talk Rick Nash and Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy chatted with us about the NHL trade deadline.



Third Period

19:02- Josh Bailey has back spasms and will not return to tonight's game. 

16:02- Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple reporting that Jay Pandolfo not out on the ice or bench for the third. 

15:41- Islanders create a small chance, but are yet again stopped by Ryan Miller. 

13:34- Both teams have traded chances in the period, but neither team has scored. Islanders haven't really been able to create offensive zone time. 

10:55- Islanders being outshot 4-2.

8:18- The Sabres continue their strong play in their own zone. Not allowing the Isles to set up any plays or gain any momentum. Then Poulin forced to hold onto the puck after a shot nearly snuck by him before. 

7:54- Thomas vanek nearly snuck a goal by, but Kevin Poulin makes an awkward save to keep the Sabres from scoring. 

5:33- Sabres able to kill an Islanders break out pass to Michael Grabner, who would have been home free. 

5:03- Frans Nielsen scores from the near side to cut the Sabres lead to 2-1 and give the Islanders a chance to tie. 

4:04- Ryan Miller stones Matt Moulson in front of the net. John Tavares made a nice move to spin around the net and get the puck over to Moulson in front. 

2:41- The Islanders are feeling the momentum. Trying with everything they have to get the tying goal. 

00:00- Sabres manage to hold on for the 2-1 win. 

Final: Islanders 1 Sabres 2

POSTGAME



Even after the Islanders managed to cut the lead to a one-goal deficit, they couldn’t find a way to finish the comeback. Frans Nielsen brought the Islanders within one with a little less than five minutes to play in the third. The Islanders would gain momentum from the late goal and nearly tied the game, but Ryan Miller and the Sabres held strong and kept the Islanders from tying the game.

Now for some final thoughts.

- The Islanders can thank Kevin Poulin tonight for keeping them in the game at times. He was forced to make big saves each period and did stop 35 of the 37 shots he faced.

- The Islanders played better than yesterday, but just playing better isn’t good enough at this point in the season. The Islanders still did not show much “push back” after the Sabres jumped ahead early. And they didn’t really play with desperation until the final five minutes of the game.

-  Again the Islanders still didn’t look like a team that had their season on the line. Tonight’s loss puts them seven points out of the playoff picture and they allowed the Sabres to leap frog them into 11th in the Eastern Conference. They now are just one point of last in the east.

- Mark Streit led Islander defensemen in time on ice with 25:36.

- John Tavares led Islanders forwards in time on ice with 22:25.

- Sabres outshot the Islanders 37-31 through three periods.

- Attendance was 18,690.

- Quote of the Night: “This is playoff hockey and it’s a 2-1 affair and we’re on the short end of it.” - Doug Weight