UNIONDALE, NEW YORK (TICKER) —After passing up a scoring opportunity late in the third period, Jason Blake learned from his mistake in overtime and buried the game-winner.
The left wing came down on a rush with Dave Scatchard on his right. He waited for Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell to go down before beating rookie goaltender Mika Noronen with a shot to the stick side.
In the same situation late in regulation, Blake passed to Scatchard, whose shot was stopped by Noronen.
“You can’t score unless you shoot,” Blake said. “I kind of second-guessed myself (in the third period). I said, `Hey, I have to shoot this one.’ Fortunately, it went in.”
Miroslav Satan tied it with 4:53 left in the third period with his 23rd goal. After Curtis Brown won a draw, Campbell left the puck at the blue line and Satan ripped a slap shot past Snow to stretch his points streak to five games.
“The puck was laying there for me, so I just shot it,” Satan said. “I wasn’t looking for a spot. If I put it on net, somebody might get a rebound. But it went in.”
Satan tried to take something positive from the Sabres’ latest defeat.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost the game in overtime, but we still have to be happy with the point,” he said. “We played a lot of games lately. We didn’t have the most life today, but we kept batting through that. We showed the character.”
Snow is 4-1-2 in his last seven starts.
“There was traffic,” he said of Satan’s goal. “I saw it at the last minute, but someone said it hit off someone’s back. I tried to reach, but I looked the wrong way.”
“It looked like Garth was screened and didn’t see it,” New York coach Peter Laviolette added. “(Satan) scored it in the top corner. Still, there was five minutes to go and we had a couple of more chances.”
Shawn Bates opened the scoring just 81 seconds into the game with his 12th goal. He picked off a cross-ice pass by defenseman Rhett Warrener at Buffalo’s blue line, strode into the zone and fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle over Noronen’s blocker.
Bates has scored in three games in a row and has recorded points in six straight.
The Islanders improved to 4-0-2 in their last six home games. They also raised their overtime record to 5-2-8.
“I felt we got back to basics in our own end and made it uncomfortable for the opposing team in the slot,” Snow said. “Whether it was giving a tug or whacking a stick, they didn’t have as much time to make a play in the slot. It was a nip-and-tuck game.”
“It’s always a tough game, the Buffalo game,” Laviolette said. “It’s tight-checking. There’s not a lot of flows, never a clean play or an easy play. But the guys fought through it. We all knew we had to get two points.”
Recalled recently from the minors, Noronen, turned aside 31 shots in his first start for Buffalo since December 23. He remained winless at 0-7-1.
“Mika gave us an excellent game,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “He put us in a position to win.”
The Sabres fell to 11-16-3-2 in back-to-back games, going 3-9-2 in the second game.
“This is one of the toughest parts of the season,” Ruff said. “I thought we matched them and exceeded them energy-wise for a good period of the game. It was a good effort.”