“Again, we took stupid penalties, and again, those who did sat for a period of time,” Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. “In addition, our penalty killing was poor.”
Briere scored off a wrist shot from the left circle with 8:29 left, and Connolly, a former Islanders first-round draft pick, netted the winner with 5:06 remaining on a wrist shot that crossed the goal line just before the net was knocked off its moorings. Kotalik scored his second of the game with 92 seconds left.
“It appears that the teams that adjust the quickest to the new rules are the ones doing the best right now,” Briere said. “You can’t hold, trip, slash, or anything else to slow the guy down. You have to keep your legs moving, and you’ll be OK.”
“I didn’t like DiPietro’s game,” Stirling said. “It was one of those nights where he just didn’t have it, and as soon as he let in that third goal, it was time replace him. In all fairness, we didn’t help him out much on the second goal.”
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead 83 seconds in when Satan finished off a rush by snapping Arron Asham’s cross-ice feed high to the short side. The goal was Satan’s team-leading eighth of the season and was the first shot of the game.
Satan is off to a surprisingly quick start after failing to record a point during the preseason.
Dumont tied it at 3:24 on sheer will. He stood his ground in front of DiPietro, found a loose puck, and poked it between the goalie’s pads.
Zhitnik fired in a center-point slap shot on a power play to put New York back on top at 6:13.
Kotalik’s power-play goal tied it 2-2 at 16:05.
The only second-period goal put the Sabres ahead for the first time. Hecht sent a seemingly harmless 35-foot shot from the left wing that got past DiPietro.
Islanders coach Steve Stirling immediately pulled DiPietro in favor of Snow.
New York stormed back in the third period to tie it 76 seconds in when Nilsson finished a passing play and scored his first NHL goal.
“It was a lot of fun scoring my first goal,” Nilsson said, “but it’s not worth anything if we don’t win.”
Yashin gave the Islanders a 4-3 lead at 7:00 with a tip-in goal.
After seeing Buffalo take the lead for good with a trio of man-advantage goals, Stirling was succinct in his evaluation of his team’s penalty woes.
“We had chances to clear the puck out of the zone, and we didn’t, and as a result, they scored,” Stirling said. “We imploded. It’s up to us to adjust, and so far, we haven’t.”
Biron was happy to have his first opportunity to play. Ryan Miller had played every minute of the Sabres/ first 10 games this season.
“Off the bat, I was maybe a little antsy, a little jittery,” Biron said. “What settled me down was that 5-on-3 power play they had. I was just getting in a groove stopping those shots, and after that, I felt fine. What also helped is the guys battled hard, and we scored some ugly goals.”
Buffalo was 4-for-8 on the power play, while the Islanders were 1-for-5. … Zhitnik had a five-game point scoring streak until Thursday’s loss to the Rangers. That game also stopped streaks of Satan (five games) and Yashin (seven games). … The Islanders were supposed to have Sunday off, but Stirling ordered a 10 a.m. practice.