Nabokov stops 35 in Islanders' 4-0 win over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Evgeni Nabokov readily admitted he made saves against the Buffalo Sabres on shots he couldn't see.
Whether he tracked them or not didn't matter. The bottom line is no pucks got past him.
Nabokov stopped all 35 shots he faced in leading the New York Islanders to a 4-0 win over the slumping Sabres on Saturday night.
"Sometimes it's funny how it works," Nabokov said, assessing his 53rd NHL shutout and first against Buffalo. "Today, every time I tried to look or just guess where the puck was going to go, because I had no chance to see it, the puck was able to hit me."
It was the same case for the Islanders' opportunistic offense, which had the puck bounce its way, too. New York took advantage of numerous Sabres turnovers by scoring four times over the final 22 minutes to bring the boo birds out again in Buffalo.
Mark Streit and Michael Grabner broke the game open with goals 65 seconds apart late in the second period. John Tavares and Colin McDonald sealed the win with third-period goals. Matt Moulson added two assists in helping the Islanders (8-9-1) win their second straight and fourth in six games.
"Any time your goalie makes big saves, it gives you a boost," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "It shows a lot of character on the team there. They didn't get frustrated."
No, the familiar signs of frustration were reserved for the spiraling Sabres. They have lost four straight, are in the midst of a 4-12-1 skid, and are showing little signs of a turnaround days after longtime coach Lindy Ruff was fired.
This loss came in Ron Rolston's second game as the Sabres' interim coach, and first at home, following a 3-1 loss at Toronto on Thursday.
Much like the Sabres were booed off the ice in Ruff's final game, a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday, the fans were back at it Saturday.
"The fans are entitled to do what they want," forward Thomas Vanek said. "I'm sure they're frustrated. They want a winning product on the ice, and so do we.
"We're a good team right now that finds a dumb way to lose."
Fans started booing late in the second period, when the Sabres fell behind 2-0. By the third, they turned their angry attention to general manager Darcy Regier, by chanting: "Goodbye, Darcy!"
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