Brad Boyes and Jason Pominville scored shootout goals, and the Buffalo Sabres rallied from an early 3-1 deficit to beat the New York Islanders 4-3 on Saturday night.
Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad tied it 3-all midway through the third period to send the game to overtime. The Islanders had a power play in the extra session when the Sabres were called for a bench minor, but New York couldn’t get past Sabres netminder Ryan Miller.
The Sabres beat the Islanders for the first time in three meetings this season, preventing New York (21-22-8) from reaching the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 22.
The Islanders led 3-1 after the first period, paced by two goals from Frans Nielsen and one from Josh Bailey.
It was the Islanders’ first shootout at home this season. Nielsen and P.A. Parenteau failed to score for New York in the shootout.
Derek Roy made it 3-2 late in the second before Gaustad’s wrist shot beat Al Montoya to tie the game.
The Islanders are still 5-1-2 in their last eight and 10-5-2 in their last 17 contests. New York beat Carolina 5-2 on Tuesday night and topped Ottawa 2-1 on Friday night in overtime. Both wins came on the road.
Buffalo, beset by injuries all season, played without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who missed the game with an upper-body injury.
Nielsen opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the season at the 1:39 mark of the first after the Sabres gave away the puck behind their own net.
Nathan Gerbe tied it at the 5:32 mark with his fifth goal before Bailey beat Miller – on an assist from Nielsen – with about 4 minutes to go in the period to put the Islanders ahead 2-1.
Bailey’s sixth goal of the season came just as a high-sticking penalty to the Islanders’ Nino Niederreiter expired.
Nielsen knocked in his own rebound with 2:43 to go to make it 3-1.
Derek Roy’s 10th goal late in the second closed the gap to 3-2.
The Islanders, who are 16-3-5 when scoring first, beat the Sabres 2-1 at Buffalo Nov. 29 and 4-2 at home Jan. 14.
NOTES: Islanders C John Tavares led the league with 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists in January) becoming the first Islander to be first in the league in points in a given month since Bryan Trottier had 28 points in November 1980 … Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has 548 wins with Buffalo. Only former Islanders coach Al Arbour (740) has more victories with one NHL team … Buffalo has only two players (Pominville and goalie Jhonas Enroth) who have dressed for every game this season.