Jean-Gabriel Pague scored a stunning power-play goal in the third period and Simeon Varlamov scored 34 goals, giving the New York Islanders a 3–2 win over the final-one Buffalo Sabers on Monday night.
Pagio scored his seventh goal at 15:08 when he blasted in a rebound after an early shot by Oliver Wehlstrom, which was intercepted by Buffalo’s goalscorer Linus Ulmark. Pagau was acquired a year ago in a trade with Ottawa and scored eight goals in the playoffs with the Islanders.
“I have good confidence. I’m trying to do my best and things are working my way from now on. “I just have to keep going in that direction.”
The Islanders defeated the Sabers for the third time this season after two wins in Buffalo last week. The Islanders also went 5-0-1 at the Nassau Coliseum, where they are playing their final season before moving to a new field at Belmont Park next season.
“It feels like every game that passes, each game is the biggest game,” Islanders forward Matt Martin said. “It’s going to come down to the wire and we’ll have to find ways to win like we did tonight.”
Martin beat New York in the third season in 3:01, defeating Ullmark for his second goal of the season with a shot from Blumark.
But Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart tied it at 2: 5:48 for the sixth goal, batting strongly in the middle of Varlamov.
Ulemark played well in the third order, stopping Brock Nelson and Adam Pelch on consecutive shots in the same order and pagging Pagio within just nine minutes. Ullmark made 20 saves.
Sabers coach Ralph Kruger said, “This is probably the most painful loss of the season, the way we can actually neutralize them, create opportunities but reroute to the short end of the stick.”
Sabers forward Curtis Lazar entered the scoring with his fourth goal 17:15. It was only the fifth time in 15 games that the Sabers scored the first goal. Buffalo defeated New York 12–3 in the opening round.
Anders Lee placed 1st with his eighth of the season, finishing second. After Matthew Barzal retained the puck in the Sabers zone, Lee completed a solid passing sequence with Raul Pulak and Jordan Eberl, overtaking Paxt Eulmark.
The Islanders won six straight against the Sabers. The Sabers are 2-7-2 in their last 11 matches against the Islanders.
“There is no mystery about how this league is judged by your wins and losses,” Lazar said. “It was a tough game. There is obviously no secret about whether they are a very structured team. “
Islanders coach Barry Trott praised Varlamov’s performance after scoring 16 goals in the third.
“Tonight was very big. He said that the power play had led to some huge savings and eventually said Trotz. “And tonight the gods of hockey were in favor of some of the posts we posted.”
Monday’s game was originally scheduled for February 2, but was postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Subverses.