Tavares, Cizikas spark Islanders to rout of Sabres
NEW YORK -- John Tavares and Casey Cizikas scored twice apiece Saturday night for the host New York Islanders, who rode a flurry of second-period goals to a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in the home opener at Barclays Center.
Tavares, Cizikas and Josh Bailey scored within a 1:47 span in the second for the Islanders (1-1-0), who bounced back from a 5-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Anthony Beauvillier added a third-period goal and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves.
Evander Kane scored twice in the second period for the Sabres (0-1-1), who are winless through two games for the fourth time in five seasons. Jack Eichel scored in the third and Robin Lehner made 12 saves before being chased in the second, after which Chad Johnson stopped 15 shots.
Tavares scored 1:50 into the first by connecting with Jordan Eberle, the Islanders' big off-season addition. Eberle's cross-ice pass sailed past a sliding Matt Tennyson to Tavares, who beat Lehner as he sprawled for the save.
New York's first two second-period goals were short-handed. Just 23 seconds after Scott Mayfield earned a roughing penalty, Tavares picked up a turnover by Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu deep in the Buffalo zone and scored unassisted at 5:13.
Cizikas beat Lehner from the left faceoff circle 50 seconds later to put the Islanders ahead 3-0. Josh Ho-Sang's pass from behind the Sabres net hit Bailey in stride before Bailey fired from the right faceoff circle to give the Islanders a 4-0 lead and end Lehner's night exactly seven minutes into the period.
The Sabres cut the deficit in half thanks to a pair of shorthanded goals by Kane later in the period. A careless pass from behind the net by Halak was intercepted by Kane, whose shot sailed into the mostly open net with 9:51 remaining.
Kane put back his own rebound at 15:26, when he raced around the back of the net for the wrap-around score.
Beauvillier scored at 5:39 of the third and Eichel scored with 3:44 remaining. Cizikas produced an empty-netter with 25.4 seconds left.
NOTES: The Islanders improved to 27-12-1-4 (wins-losses-ties-overtime losses) in home openers. ... The Sabres, who fell in overtime to the visiting Montreal Canadiens in Thursday's season opener, played their first road game against the Islanders for the fourth time (1979-80, 2007-08 and 2008-09). ... The Islanders scratched RW Cal Clutterbuck (lower body), D Ryan Pulock and D Dennis Seidenberg. ... The Sabres scratched D Zach Bogosian (lower body), D Josh Gorges and C Jordan Nolan.