New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) gets ready to deflect a shot on Buffalo Sabres goaltender Connor Knapp (49) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday April 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Sabres' Season Ends With 4-3 SO Loss to Islanders
The Sabres' season reached its conclusion on Sunday with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders on Fan Appreciation Night. Buffalo dropped seven games in a row to close out the 2013-14 season and finished with a record of 21-51-10.
Brock Nelson tied the score for the Islanders in the final period and recorded the lone goal in the shootout, beating Connor Knapp with a wristshot. Ville Leino had a chance to extend the shootout for Buffalo, but was denied by Anders Nilsson. Despite the crowd urging him, Leino was also held without a goal during regluation and overtime and finishes with zero for the season.
Knapp recorded a point in his first NHL start, picking up the lone assist on Jamie McBain's first-period goal. McBain received the puck behind the net from Knapp and carried it the length of the ice, capped by a highlight-reel move to beat the Islanders' defense and Anders Nilsson to make it 1-0. Matt Ellis gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead at 7:23 of the second period, crashing the net and backhanding a Marcus Foligno pass into the New York net. Jake McCabe got the play started with a perfect pass up ice to Foligno for his first-ever NHL point.
The Sabres saw their two-goal lead evaporate thanks to a pair of goals by Anders Lee. He poked a loose puck between Knapp's pads for his first, a power play goal late in the second period. Lee struck again just 17 seconds into the final frame, tying the score 2-2.
Torrey Mitchell put Buffalo back in front about halfway through the third, deflecting a Rasmus Ristolainen blast from the top of the faceoff circle, but Nelson tied it late with a wristshot that beat Knapp gloveside.
After a scoreless overtime period, the two sides headed for the shootout where Nelson was the lone scorer. Buffalo sent Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson and Leino to center ice, but all three were stopped by Nilsson. The Islanders' netminder finished 36 saves while Knapp came up with 22 saves his first-ever NHL start.
The game featured a couple of fights including an early scrap between John Scott and Justin Johnson, who were chatting with each other during pre-game warmups. Zenon Konopka also tangled with Brett Gallant, and Nicolas Deslauriers pummeled Scott Mayfield early in the third, a thoroughly convincing win for the Buffalo forward.
Prior to the game, Buffalo honored former player and longtime member of the broadcast team, Mike Robitaille, with a video tribute and gift. Robitaille announced his retirement from the broadcast earlier in the season. The Sabres also handed out team awards including MVP (Tyler Ennis), Rookie of the Year (Zemgus Girgensons) and Unsung Hero (Jhonas Enroth).