BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Mattias Samuelsson and Dylan Cozens also scored for Buffalo, while Casey Mittelstadt had two assists. Eric Comrie made 24 saves in his first start of the season for the Sabres.
Noah Dobson scored for the Islanders and Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves in his first start of the season.
“It’s always nerve-wracking until the end, especially when you play that well and you know you deserve some points by virtue of that,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “So many good efforts, obviously a very good response. We were able to do the work that was needed to get to our identity, and that was as big as the win for me.”
Skinner’s second goal of the season opened the scoring in the second period. Mittelstadt drove through the slot and passed to Skinner, who blasted a one-timer past Varlamov with 3:23 left in the frame.
“It took a while to get that first goal and we had so many chances, so many shots that I think we really had that shooting mentality tonight and that’s something we lacked the last few games,” Cozens said. “I mean, once we got that one it started opening up a bit more and we played a good 60 minutes.”
Skinner’s assist came when Samuelsson made it 2-0 nearly three minutes later when he received a pass from behind the net by Mittelstadt and snapped a wrist shot through traffic past Varlamov.
“I thought we just let loose tonight and our speed was pretty apparent,” Mittelstadt said. “That’s a real strength of our team. We did a great job. I thought the (defense) did a great a job getting up quick and joining us in the rush. That’s the way we want to play, so it’s definitely fun to get in the win category.”
Cozens’ second of the season gave Buffalo a 3-0 lead at 2:40 of the third period. Cozens buried a deflected pass from Rasmus Dahlin past Varlamov.
Dobson’s goal ended Comrie’s shutout bid at 19:07 of the third when his shot from the point deflected off of Cozens and defenseman Connor Clifton past Comrie.
“It’s two nights in a row now where we’re trying,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “The intentions are good, but unintended consequences come along with that. And when you turn the puck over in the neutral zone, certainly against fast teams, and you know every team in this league is fast, and (can) transition quickly, you find yourself back in your own zone and spending way too much time there.”
Buffalo was without goaltender Devon Levi and forward Zach Benson because of lower-body injuries. Both players were dinged up against Calgary on Thursday but did skate Saturday morning. Levi started each of the first four games for Buffalo.
MAYFIELD OUT FOR ISLANDERS
New York defenseman Scott Mayfield missed his third consecutive game with a lower-body injury. He hasn’t been in the lineup since the Islanders’ season opener against Buffalo a week ago.
Islanders: Host Colorado on Tuesday to open a two-game homestand.
Sabres: Host Montreal on Monday to conclude a four-game homestand.