Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

November 22, 2008

SABRES: Isles hand Buffalo fifth straight loss

BUFFALO — In their past two games, the Buffalo Sabres have 77 shots on goal. And to show for it they have just two goals.

Worse yet, they have two losses.

New York Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald stopped 35 Sabres shots Saturday in leading his team to a 4-2 win before 18,529 at HSBC Arena. The Sabres have now lost five straight games in regulation for the first time since March 2006.

“We did some good things. We didn’t do enough good things,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “… We had some guys who really put in a good effort, but again, it just wasn’t enough.”

The Islanders scored the deciding goal at 4:24 of the third period, when Bill Guerin took advantage of a bad Buffalo change and beat backup Patrick Lalime to make it 3-1.

The Sabres (9-8-3) pulled to within a goal when Derek Roy beat MacDonald to the blocker side with 4:34 to play, but Buffalo couldn’t get the equalizer. With just 1:08 to play and Lalime on the bench, Thomas Vanek took a holding the stick penalty which ended the pressure Buffalo had been applying.

Ruff admitted the team was frustrated in the third period after outshooting the Islanders 18-2 in the second period and being outscored 1-0.

“We decided to get a little bit individualistic,” he said. “We turned some pucks over and didn’t get them deep.”

The Islanders jumped out front at the 14:20 mark of the first period when Andy Hilbert deflected Trent Hunter’s shot over the left shoulder of Lalime.

The Sabres made it 1-1 on Mark Mancari’s first NHL goal with 1:01 to play in the opening period. The goal was set up by a strong forecheck from linemate Paul Gaustad. After forcing an Islanders turnover, Gaustad got the puck to the front of the net, and Mancari backhanded it over MacDonald.

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