Sam Reinhart recorded the tiebreaking goal with 4:04 left in regulation and 28-year-old Michael Houser made 34 saves in his NHL debut, as the Buffalo Sabres scored three times in the third to rally from two goals down and snap a nine-game losing streak to the New York Islanders with a 4-2 victory on Monday night.
Down 2-1 with less than nine minutes to play in regulation, Rasmus Asplund pushed the puck past Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov (36 saves) — whose club-record shutout streak ended at 248 minutes when Tage Thompson scored at 14:04 into the second — for the equalizer with 8:35 to play. According to the Islanders, Varlamov’s run was the 12th-longest such streak in NHL history.
But, Buffalo (14-32-7, 35 points) wasn’t finished as Reinhart deflected in a Rasmus Ristolainen shot from the point to give the host its first lead of the night. Reinhart added an empty-netter shortly after to give the Sabres their first victory over the playoff-bound Islanders (31-16-5, 67 points) since February 2019.
Houser, meanwhile, was solid in keeping the Sabres in the game. The sixth different goalie to start a game for Buffalo this season, Hauser was a member of the club’s taxi squad and took the ice in a game for the first time since March 2020, while playing for the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones.
There was nothing Houser could do, though, when New York’s Adam Pelech opened the scoring 9:15 into the contest. His shot toward the net was deflected in off the stick of Buffalo defenseman Henri Jokiharju.
The Islanders appeared to go up 2-0 less than a minute into the second period, but video review overturned the call on the ice after it was determined Casey Cizikas interfered with Houser. However, New York eventually went up 2-0 with 9:18 left in the second when Oliver Wahlstrom redirected Pelech’s shot past Hauser.
But it was Thompson who came through with a blast past Varlamov on the power play with 5:56 left in the middle frame to make it a 2-1 contest.
These teams conclude their season series Tuesday night at Buffalo.