In Buffalo, Anders Bjork scored twice, once in the second period and once in the third, to rally the Sabres back from a 1-3 deficit on Tuesday night.
Those two goals forced extra time with the New York Islanders, which solved nothing.
“In my career I’ve usually played better on the second part of a back to back, just, you know, feeling that first game and then kind of using it,” Houser said. “I know they say momentum doesn’t carry over game to game, but the way that you feel in net could, I think, at least.
“So, I felt way more comfortable early and I felt like that was mostly due to playing [Monday] night, getting the jittery legs out of the way and all that, and I felt like I was sharp and I was quick early.”
Bjork also was the lone striker in the skills competition and Michael Houser made 45 saves to win his second straight game since being called up from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
“I think we did a good job bringing energy,” Bjork said. “Both games we didn’t start the way we wanted exactly, especially tonight, I thought. But we responded well and competed for 60 minutes. I think that was extremely important.”
“It was better,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “I liked that we were playing north, we weren’t messing around. I thought in the second period, we didn’t recognize danger. We had three guys really tired. Their two guys came off fresh and then we just mismanage the puck and I think they ended up with about five chances and a goal. That can’t happen.”
Cal Clutterbuck also scored for New York to push the lead to 3-1 in the middle frame.
The Isles’ Mathew Barzal was scratched for the first time in NHL career.
“It’s never an easy conversation, but I don’t have a lot of regard for personal milestones, games played and all that,” Trotz said. “I believe all in the team stuff, so I think Mat’s a good pro. He’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing. I’m not too worried about that. I just want to get him in the right place and feeling good so that he’s a good player for us in the playoffs here.”
Cody Eakin opened the scoring in the game to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead.
Ilya Sorokin made 28 saves. in the loss.
“That’s kind of the strength of our team; when we do get up, we’re able to lock things down,” Pulock said. “Obviously we failed at that these last two games. We’ll look at it, we’ll clean that up and we’ll be ready.”