BUFFALO - This time, there was no point earned or one-goal loss as consolation. Five games into the season and the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs are still the only teams in the league without a win after the Isles lost, 6-3, Friday night to the Sabres at the HSBC Arena.
The Islanders fell behind early and couldn't stop the Sabres' offensive attack. Coach Scott Gordon pulled goaltender Dwayne Roloson and replace him with Martin Biron after the Isles trailed 4-1 midway through the second period. Roloson allowed four goals on 12 shots.
"I thought he looked off on the third one and then after the fourth goal, I thought he was beaten up mentally," Gordon said.
Rookie defenseman Tyler Myers scored first for the Sabres - the first goal of his NHL career - swooping in from the right point to an open area in front of the net and backhanding a shot past Roloson at 2:27 for an early lead. Clarke MacArthur extended the Sabres lead at 14:42 by converting a penalty shot after he was tripped on a breakaway by defenseman Mark Streit to make it 2-0.
Matt Moulson, who now has three goals in five games, gave the Islanders some life 2:22 later when he deflected a shot past goalie Ryan Miller (36 saves).
But Roloson gave up his fourth goal - a slap shot from the left circle from Jochen Hecht at 9:22 - to make it 4-1. Roloson was yanked and replaced with former Sabres goaltender Biron, who received a rousing ovation from the Buffalo fans.
"They are a good offensive team," said Biron, who finished with 20 saves. "They're capable, especially at home, of putting up big numbers. We had some chances, but right now those little things don't add up to wins. We've got to hunker it down a little bit and find a way."
Tavares got the Islanders back into the game with a power-play goal at 12:54 of the second, as Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller misplayed the puck behind the net, allowing Tavares to scoop it up and scored into an empty net to get the Isles within 4-2. It was Tavares' third of the season.
Both teams traded goals in the third - first Patrick Kaleta with a tap-in from the crease at 8:52, then a hard slap shot from Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton at 9:15 - but the Islander couldn't overcome the early deficit.
Later in the third, Jason Pominville scored the 100th goal of his career at 15:52 to seal it.
"This one hurts," Biron said. "We've been playing pretty well defensively and we want to pride ourselves on our defensive play and our ability to limit chances. That's why this one is a killer."
Notes & quotes: D Jack Hillen played for the first time this season, replacing Bruno Gervais in the lineup. "He had a great camp, but we just wanted to give the guys who already had NHL experience first crack." Gordon said. As for Gervais, who is a minus-6 after four games, Gordon said this provides him an opportunity to regroup after a slow start to the season. "We know there's more to his game that hasn't come out yet. We just want to take a step back and get him to where he was." . . . Gordon said that forward Frans Nielsen, who injured his right knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery during training camp, will play next week.