Olofsson scores twice in Sabres’ 6-3 win over Islanders
BUFFALO, N.Y (AP) — Victor Olofsson scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 2:55 left in the game, and the Buffalo Sabres beat the New York Islanders 6-3 on Tuesday night for their second consecutive win.
Alex Tuch added a goal and assist for Buffalo. Tage Thompson, Kyle Okposo and Henri Jokiharju also scored. Dylan Cozens had three assists and Peyton Krebs had two. Dustin Tokarski made 30 saves.
Kyle Palmieri scored twice for the Islanders, who finished out a four-game trip on a three-game skid. Anders Lee had a goal and an assist, and Ilya Sorokin stopped 35 of 39 shots.
Olofsson ended a 30-game scoreless skid with his first goal since Oct. 31, and recorded his 100th NHL point on a wrist shot from the right circle.
“It’s been the toughest stretch of my career, for sure,” Olofsson said. “I haven’t scored in a long time. So it definitely felt good.”
Palmieri’s second goal tied it for the Islanders with 10:04 remaining in the third period. Surpassing his scoring total through the first 29 games, Palmieri put it in the right side of the net off of Tokarski’s helmet after Lee’s shot bounced off the boards.
The Sabres put the finishing touches on a win after squandering third-period leads in nine losses this season with Oloffson’s seventh of the season on an empty-netter and Jokiharju’s empty-netter in the final minute.
“After they scored the third to tie it up, we didn’t tuck our tails,” Thompson said. “We went right back after it. I think everyone on the bench knew we were playing a really good game and didn’t want one or two unlucky goals or bounces that went against us affect the impact of the game.”
Despite rallying for three tying goals, the Islanders dropped to 1-17-2 when trailing after two periods.
“I thought we showed real good character and found a way to get it tied up,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Our effort was committed today. But was it our best game? We lost, so it can’t be.”
Tuch gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead on a power play with 0.6 seconds left in the second period when he tipped a hurried wrist shot by Krebs and the puck bounced past Sorokin.
“It was chaos,” Tuch said. “When I tipped the puck, I didn’t even think we were going to have enough time.”
Tuch has 19 points in 16 games with the Sabres since he and Krebs were acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in a trade for former captain Jack Eichel.
Lee evened it up for the Islanders with 7:11 remaining in the second, jamming in a bouncing puck for his 13th goal after Zdeno Chara’s hard one-timer shot through traffic.
“It was one of those games where we found ourselves behind and having to keep coming back,” Lee said. “If this keeps happening, we’re going to be on the wrong side.”
Thompson scored his first short-handed NHL goal to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead 1:36 into the second period. Spinning away from New York’s Mathew Barzal before he knocked in the rebound from Cozens’ slap shot, Thompson tallied his 16th and extended his point streak to five games.
Palmieri entered the lineup after three games as a healthy scratch and scored for the first time since Nov. 16 with 7:54 remaining in the first period. Brock Nelson took the puck from Buffalo’s Anders Bjork to create a 2-on-1 chance, and Anthony Beauvillier set up Palmieri for a one-timer from the slot.
The Islanders allowed the opening goal for the ninth time in 10 games when Okposo redirected Casey Fitzgerald’s point shot over Sorokin’s blocking pad 10:53 into the first. It was Okposo’s 10th goal.
Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov will remain in Canada for at least six days due to his positive COVID-19 test result prior to Saturday’s game in Calgary, Trotz said Tuesday.
Cory Schneider was called up from the minors on Monday for backup.
Islanders: D Sebastian Aho replaced Andy Green in the lineup and had an assist on Palmieri’s first goal.
Sabres: D Mark Pysyk started in his 500th NHL game after he was a healthy scratch for the first time this season for Sunday’s win in Montreal. … F Casey Mittelstadt is close to returning from an upper-body injury that has caused him to miss his 40th game and fourth in a row.
Islanders: Host Boston on Thursday.
Sabres: Host Ottawa on Thursday.
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