The Islanders slide further with the loss to Sabers

BUFFALO, NY — Days Thompson scored his 37th goal as a team leader during a three-goal transition in the second half, and the Buffalo Sabers defeated the New York Islanders 5-3 on Saturday in a game between two non-playoff teams .

Jeff Skinner, with his 33rd of the season, filled Thompson’s rebound with 7:20 left to secure the win after Buffalo nearly gambled away a 4-1 lead in the third period. Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt and Vinnie Hinostroza also scored, and Dustin Tokarski saved 17 shots.

The Sabers held on to their fourth straight win, the team’s longest since a 10-game run in November 2018.

Mathew Barzal posted a 10-game goal drought, hitting a pass from Noah Dobson into the left circle to level the game at 2:51 in the opening period to 1. Dobson and Kieffer Bellows gave the Islanders brief hope by scoring goals 1:37 apart to cut Buffalo’s lead to 4:3, 9:38 remaining.

Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 shots in his last five starts to drop to 1-3-1.

The Islanders lost to the Sabers on Saturday.

The underperforming and injury-plagued Islanders fell to 0-3-1 in their last four as they entered the final week of a season that had expected them to make a deep playoff run to christen their newly built UBS Arena . However, their season was largely wiped out by a 0-8-3 slip between November and December.

In comparison, the Sabers have improved to 15-8-3 in the last 26 to close a season that has long seen them eliminated from the playoffs for an NHL-record 11th straight year.

Thompson’s appearance as an offensive threat was one of many bright spots for the Sabers, who are already looking to build for next season with a roster that should return mostly intact.

The Islanders and Sabers hit the ice Saturday.

2018 draft pick Dahlin scored the go-ahead goal by firing a shot from the blue line 1:17 into the second period. Thompson scored less than four minutes later by passing Jacob Bryson once into the left circle.

Hinostroza capped the second half by faking a backhand and forehand turning the puck into the far right post while driving to the net after a no-look pass from Anders Bjork.

The Islanders’ frustration showed with 5:20 to go when Matt Martin jumped over Skinner after the whistle in the neutral zone. Several other players competed against each other and Skinner ended up trading shoves and punches with Adam Pelech.

Skinner and Martin received minors for gross conduct, while Pelech and Ross Johnston received 10-minute misconduct orders. The Islanders slide further with the loss to Sabers


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