Islanders
Sabres
7 - 6 Final - OT
  for this game

Grabner's hat trick, OT winner helps Isles outlast Sabres

Feb 14, 2011 - 4:05 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Michael Grabner scored with 2:05 left in overtime to complete his hat trick and lift the New York Islanders to a wild 7-6 win over the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena.

After New York killed off the remainder of a Buffalo power play that carried over from the third period into overtime, the Islanders finally put an end to a long afternoon.

Kyle Okposo's rink-wide pass from his own zone was knocked down by Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera, but the blueliner was unable to control the bouncing puck and Grabner gathered, skated in and fired a shot by Ryan Miller on the stick side to give the Islanders the victory.

John Tavares and Milan Jurcina each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who were coming off a fight-filled 9-3 win over Pittsburgh on Friday and have won three straight and four of their last five.

"We're really starting to come together, and it's great to see," Tavares said.

Blake Comeau and Ty Wishart also tallied for New York, which got three-assist games from Okposo and Frans Nielsen.

Mikko Koskinen allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting replaced by Al Montoya, who stopped 12-of-14 shots to pick up the win.

Drew Stafford registered a hat trick for Buffalo, which had a three-game winning streak halted. Nathan Gerbe, Jochen Hecht and Tyler Myers each had a goal apiece in defeat.

Miller, starting his 31st consecutive game between the pipes, yielded all seven goals on 26 shots to take the loss.

"We made some bad decisions with the puck that led to some pretty good opportunities," Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff said. "There were some tough goals that went in both ways. We weren't as good with the puck as we have been."

With the Sabres ahead 4-3 after two periods, Grabner picked off a Buffalo clearing attempt and fired a wrister past Miller high to the glove side to even the contest at the 3:00 minute mark.

Then nearly 2 1/2 minutes later Buffalo reclaimed the lead. After some good pressure around the New York net, the puck came out to the high slot where Myers ripped a shot that went off the left post and in for a 5-4 game.

Skating with a 5-on-3 advantage just past the midway point of the third, Jurcina's blast from the point deadlocked things at 5-all with 8:28 left in the third.

However, the Islanders weren't finished, as Wishart's shot went off a Buffalo defender in front and went in, giving the visitors a 6-5 lead with 7:12 to go. But Stafford tied things again 31 seconds later when he shoveled the puck into a wide-open net after a goal-mouth scramble to complete the hat trick.

Buffalo squandered a power-play chance with under two minutes left in regulation and the game went into overtime.

Grabner lit the lamp 40 seconds into the contest when he beat an out-of- position Miller with a wraparound to give the Islanders an early lead.

However, the Sabres struck for a pair of goals 56 seconds apart.

First, it was Hecht going end-to-end and firing a wrist shot through the pads of Koskinen from the left circle at 6:46. Then Stafford stuffed home a rebound while standing on the doorstep at 7:42.

Tavares backhanded a rebound home from in close to tie the contest at 2-2 with 7:11 remaining in the opening period, but with 2:21 left in the stanza, Stafford tallied his second of the game when he re-directed a Tyler Ennis pass by Koskinen.

Gerbe put the Sabres ahead 4-2 4:31 into the second. After taking a pass from Shaone Morrisonn, the diminutive forward skated down the left side, turned an Islanders defenseman inside out and snapped a shot along the ice from the slot that found the back of the net.

Koskinen was then lifted in favor of Montoya.

Comeau's stuffer squeezed through Miller with 1:05 left in the second to draw New York within one after two periods of play.

Game Notes

The NHL suspended Islanders forwards Trevor Gillies for nine games and Matt Martin for four, while the club a was given a $100,000 fine for their actions in Friday's fight-filled 9-3 win over Pittsburgh...Wishart's goal was the first of his career...Stafford now has four hat tricks this season and two in the last three games. He recorded a three-goal game in a 7-4 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.