The Islanders moved two points ahead of Montreal for seventh
place in the Eastern Conference, and increased their cushion over
Buffalo to five points. Arron Asham and Cliff Ronning also scored
for the Islanders, 6-0-2-0 in their last eight home games.
The Sabres dropped to 8-2-1-0 in their last 11 games.
The Islanders opened the scoring at 1:23 of the first period
when Asham converted on Jason Blake's nifty behind-the-back pass
and sent a wrist shot from the lower left circle over Martin
Biron's glove. Bates scored his first goal in 33 games to give the
Islanders a 2-0 lead at 7:46 of the second period. Off a cross-ice
pass by Trent Hunter, Bates beat Biron with a one-timer.
The Sabres got back into the game 1:07 seconds later on a bad
clearing attempt by DiPietro. Maxim Afinogenov intercepted the
clear, and quickly fed Kalinin, who fired the puck into an open
net. It only took the Islanders 1:15 to restore their two-goal
lead, with Aucoin's slap shot from the right point beating a
screened Biron. Ronning's tip in of Aucoin's right point slap shot
made it 4-1 with 37.5 seconds left in the period.
Mika Noronen replaced Biron to start the final period.
Islanders defenseman Radek Martinek has a fractured left
ankle. Martinek, injured Wednesday night against Pittsburgh, will
be out approximately six weeks. ... The Islanders have won all
three meetings with the Sabres this season. The two teams meet for
the final time Friday night in Buffalo.