UNIONDALE (AP) — Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period and Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves, leading the New York Islanders to a 3-2 win over the last-place Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Pageau got his seventh goal at 15:08 when he banged in a rebound on the backhand after Oliver Wahlstrom’s initial shot with stopped by Buffalo goaltender Linus Ullmark.
The Islanders beat the Sabres for the third straight time this season after two victories in Buffalo last week. The Islanders also moved to 5-0-1 at Nassau Coliseum.
Matt Martin put New York in front 3:01 into the third, beating Ullmark with a shot from just inside the blueline for his second goal of the season.
But Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart tied it at 2 at 5:48, batting the puck out of midair past Varlamov for this sixth goal.
Ullmark played well in the third, denying Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech on consecutive shots in the same sequence and stopping Pageau swooping in with just over nine minutes left.
Sabres forward Curtis Lazar opened the scoring with his fourth goal 17:15 into the first. It was only the fifth time in 15 games that the Sabres scored the first goal. Buffalo outshot New York 12-3 in the opening period.
Anders Lee tied it at 1 with his eighth of the season 3:56 into the second. After Mathew Barzal kept the puck in the Sabres zone, Lee finished a solid passing sequence with Ryan Pulock and Jordan Eberle by backhanding the puck past Ullmark.
The Islanders have won six straight against the Sabres. The Sabres are 2-7-2 in their last 11 games overall against the Islanders.
Monday’s game was originally scheduled for Feb. 2, but it was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Sabres.
The Islanders are 7-1-2 this season when they score at least three goals.
OUT FOR SEASON
The Sabres will be without defenseman Jake McCabe for the rest of the season after he injured his right knee during Saturday’s 3-2 victory at New Jersey.
The 27-year-old McCabe was diagnosed Monday with ligament and meniscus damage, and the team said he will need six to eight months to recover. McCabe got hurt trying to hit Devils captain Nico Hischier along the boards in the third period.
The Sabres made struggling forward Jeff Skinner a healthy scratch for the first time this season. A 40-goal scorer two seasons ago for the Sabres, Skinner signed an eight-year, $72 million contract extension in June 2019. He scored only 14 goals in 59 games last season and has just one assist in 14 games this season.
Islanders: Hosting Boston Bruins on Thursday.
Sabres: Visiting New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.