UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The Sabres and the New York Islanders both agreed that Ryan Miller stole two points for Buffalo.
Miller made 41 saves, and Alexander Sulzer scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period for the Sabres, who earned a 3-2 victory over the Islanders despite being outshot 43-15.
"Every season you're going to have games like that," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Ryan made the big saves when we needed them."
Thomas Vanek and Christian Ehrhoff added goals for the Sabres, who won their second straight game.
The Islanders dropped their fourth in a row after a 4-2-1 start.
"We deserved better tonight, there's no question," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "I felt the effort for 60 minutes was there."
John Tavares and Colin McDonald scored for New York, and Brian Strait had two assists. Evgeni Nabokov made 12 saves for the Islanders, who erased a pair of one-goal deficits but couldn't overcome a third even after Tavares was awarded a penalty shot with 3:53 remaining.
"We got to win hockey games, we have to get results," Tavares said. "We got to find a way to get points we need. We got to find ways to win and get back on the winning track and there's not much time."
The teams were tied 2-2 after two periods largely because of Miller, who made 27 saves through 40 minutes. He covered up for breakdowns by his teammates in the defensive zone and then turned aside Tavares' penalty shot with a glove save.
"We just need a win at this point," Miller said.
Miller, the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, was also bailed out when Tavares hit the post on a semi-breakaway earlier in the third.
"I think with as many opportunities as we had, we got to put them in when we can," Tavares said.
Sulzer put the Sabres ahead for good 7:35 into the third, and Miller made sure they would leave snowy Long Island with a win. Sulzer's shot appeared to bounce off the ice and in the net over Nabokov's shoulder.
"Just one-timed it," Sulzer said. "Maybe (the puck hit him in a) tough spot."
Vanek, the NHL leader with 11 goals, opened the scoring 9:28 into the game. The forward was stationed in front of Nabokov and jammed a loose puck over him.
Tavares got the Islanders even at 1 in the final minute of the first period with his sixth goal of the season. After he got free from Ehrhoff, Tavares planted himself on the far side of the net before stuffing Brian Strait's shot past Miller.