Josh Bailey tied the game in the final two minutes and Mathew Barzal scored 1:08 into overtime as the Islanders rallied past the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. >> Box score
- 3:41 NYI Jason Chimera; Assists: Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas
- 9:43 BUF Zemgus Girgensons; Assists: Jack Eichel, Marco Scandella
- 11:33 BUF Kyle Okposo; Assists: Evander Kane
- 18:51 NYI Josh Baily; Assists: John Tavares
- 1:08 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Bailey, Tavares
Wow. In the span of two minutes, the Islanders turned what would have been a very disappointing night into a thrilling overtime victory to wrap up their five-game homestand with a pivotal two points.
With the extra attacker on, John Tavares found Josh Bailey, who - at first look- seemed like he had been robbed by Robin Lehner. But while the Isles continued their attack, Toronto reviewed the play and concluded the puck had crossed the goal line before Lehner got his glove on it. That tied up the score and allowed the Isles to get the game to the extra stanza.
Big props to Jaro Halak tonight, who - in my mind - played his best game of the season. The Sabres controlled play for much of the third period, and Halak was equal to the task. His positioning was so much better, and he really controlled his rebounds well, which limited Buffalo's second chances. And Halak came up with two very big saves late, one with a just under two seconds left in regulation, then another on Buffalo's lone chance of the overtime, to seal the victory. Very impressive.
Finally, what can I even say about Mat Barzal? What a rush in OT to get the game winner. Provided he even maintains half of this production for the rest of this year, this guy should be a lock to win the Calder Trophy. He's such a difference maker, and is a bona fide No. 1 NHL center on a club who already has one of the game's best centers. Islanders fans have to be excited at the prospect of seeing the Isles roll out two lines centered by Tavares and Barzal for a very long time.
The Islanders head out on the road to face the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Friday at 8 p.m.