National Hockey League
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NY Islanders Islanders
ML: NYI +123
Buffalo Sabres
ML: BUF -136
Goalie Performance
Jaroslav Halak
#41 G Jaroslav Halak
Robin Lehner
#40 G Robin Lehner
0.946 SV% 35 SV
0.846 SV% 22 SV
Scoring Leaders
Anders Lee
#27 LW Anders Lee Goals Assists 2 0
Joshua Ho-Sang
#66 RW Joshua Ho-Sang Goals Assists 1 0
Cal Clutterbuck
#15 RW Cal Clutterbuck Goals Assists 1 0
Evander Kane
#9 LW Evander Kane Goals Assists 1 0
Zemgus Girgensons
#28 C Zemgus Girgensons Goals Assists 1 0
Matt Moulson
#26 LW Matt Moulson Goals Assists 0 1

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders are learning to navigate without their captain as they continue their playoff push.

Anders Lee scored two third-period goals as New York defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Sunday to keep pace in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

Cal Clutterbuck and rookie Josh Ho-Sang also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves for the Islanders, who won their second straight and remained five points behind the Ottawa Senators for the eighth and final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with four games remaining.

The Islanders (37-29-12) opened a four-game road trip without star center John Tavares, who will miss the remainder of the regular season with a hamstring injury sustained Friday in a 2-1 win over New Jersey, Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

"When you lose a player like Johnny, you've got to keep it simple and play north-south," Lee said. "For the most part, we did that tonight and did our best to grind it out."

One player won't be able to replace Tavares, who leads the Islanders with 66 points, Ho-Sang said.

"It's not a role that one guy fills, it's a role that 19 guys pick up," Ho-Sang said. "If everybody picks up a little bit of the slack of what Johnny does, we'll be an effective team."

Evander Kane and Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Sabres (32-34-12). Robin Lehner stopped 22 shots. Out of playoff contention for the sixth year in a row, Buffalo started its final three-game homestand of the season with its second straight loss.

"I think we deserved a better fate tonight and I have to be better," Lehner said.

Coming off of four days' rest, the Sabres were rusty at the start and put just six shots on goal in the first period.

"We came out sloppy," Sabres captain Brian Gionta said. "That first was not our best."

Lee's two goals came 5:14 apart and gave him 31 on the season. He scored his sixth game-winner 9:19 into the third period on a slap shot from the top of the circle that trickled between Lehner's pads. Lee got an insurance goal with 5:27 remaining when he intercepted a clearing pass in front of the Buffalo net and knocked in a backhand.

"Sometimes you've got to get the bounces and they went our way in the third period there," Lee said.

Girgensons tied the game for Buffalo at 5:17 of the third period when he tipped in a saucer pass from Matt Moulson.

The Islanders struggled to create scoring chances throughout the second and third periods and twice surrendered one-goal leads before Lee's goals.

"We dug in and battled," Weight said. "Just meat-and-potato road hockey."

Clutterbuck gave New York a 1-0 lead 9:31 into the first period when he lifted a wrist shot from the right circle over Lehner's glove.

Kane scored his team-leading 27th goal to tie the game for Buffalo midway through the second. C.J. Smith, the leading scorer for UMass-Lowell this season, sent a backhand to Kane in the slot to record an assist in his NHL debut.

The Islanders regained the lead less than a minute later when Ho-Sang got the puck off of a Jack Eichel turnover and beat Lehner on a breakaway. New York didn't have a shot on goal for the first 11:04 of the period prior to Ho-Sang's goal.

Ho-Sang, the Islanders' 2014 first-round pick, has 10 points in 15 games since making his NHL debut on March 2.

NOTES: Sabres D Rasmus Ristolainen returned from a three-game suspension for his hit on Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel. ... Sabres RW Kyle Okposo (illness) missed his second straight game and will also be out Monday against Toronto. ... Islanders C Connor Jones made his NHL debut after being recalled from the minors on Saturday.
Top Game Performances
NY Islanders   Buffalo
Anders Lee 2 Points Zemgus Girgensons 1
Anders Lee 2 Goals Zemgus Girgensons 1
Nick Leddy 1 Assists William Carrier 1
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Jaroslav Halak .946 Save Percentage Robin Lehner .846
Jaroslav Halak 35 Saves Robin Lehner 22
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
NY Islanders 26 4 0-1 4-4 8 26
Buffalo 37 2 0-4 1-1 2 33
Upcoming Games
  • Buffalo will play their next game at home against Toronto. The Sabres have a W/L % of .364 after a win and .444 after a loss.
  • NY Islanders will play their next game on the road against Nashville. The Islanders have a W/L % of .444 after a win and .500 after a loss.