Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Tyler Ennis scored the deciding goal during the second round of the shootout to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a long- awaited first victory of the season, a 4-3 come-from-behind decision over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
The Sabres trailed 3-2 before Marcus Foligno found the back of the net with 2:01 remaining in the third period, and Thomas Vanek and Ennis both converted their shootout opportunities before Ryan Miller officially stopped Buffalo's season-opening seven-game losing streak with a save on John Tavares.
Ennis and Vanek also scored in regulation, while Miller racked up 41 saves prior to stoning two of New York's three skaters in the shootout.
"It was a great job by our guys," said Miller. "Glad to get that [first win]."
The Islanders were dealt a third consecutive defeat despite goals from Frans Nielsen, Matt Moulson and Matt Martin and a 31-save effort from Evgeni Nabokov.
"We put a lot of pucks on net today," said Tavares. "We didn't get the result we wanted. When we have a lead, we have to bear down and find a way to get the job done."
Buffalo appeared on its way to another pointless performance when trailing 3-2 late in regulation, but Foligno won a faceoff in the New York zone and Tyler Myers was able to keep the puck from crossing the blueline before giving it back to his teammate, who spun around and fired an attempt that got through Nabokov's pads.
After neither side mustered much during the extra session, Moulson muscled a shot past Miller to give the Islanders the early upper hand in the shootout. Vanek squared things up with a successful top-shelf try, however, and Miller turned back Nielsen before Ennis rocketed home a forehand to send Buffalo in front.
Miller then got a piece of Tavares' wrister to give the Sabres the two points.
The Islanders capitalized on a double-minor holding call to Steve Ott to forge ahead in the third period, as Tavares blasted a shot from the right circle that caromed off a screening Moulson's leg and in to give the Islanders a 3-2 edge with 11:16 left to play.
New York peppered Miller with 16 shots in the opening period en route to taking a 1-0 lead at the first intermission. Nabokov delivered a strong outlet pass from behind his net to start a transition rush that ended with Nielsen rocketing a riser over Miller's left hand with 6:49 left in the frame.
A New York turnover in its own end enabled the Sabres to pull even with nearly 5 1/2 minutes elapsed in the second period. Nabokov thought he had the puck covered up to induce a stoppage, but an alert Ennis raced in to knock in the loose disc behind the Islanders' backstop for the tying goal.
Martin found an opening after taking in a centering feed from Casey Cizikas at the 8:08 mark of the middle session to send New York back in front, but Tavares was sent off for a high stick just 18 seconds later and the Sabres cashed in.
Vanek crashed the net to tip home a pass from Cody Hodgson for the equalizer, which came just 71 seconds after Martin's goal.
GAME NOTES: Prior to the contest, the NHL announced a 10-game suspension to Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta for an illegal check to the head of Columbus' Jack Johnson in a loss to the Blue Jackets last Thursday. Kaleta had already sat out two previous games for the infraction ... The Islanders registered a point for a ninth straight home game, going 6-0-3 over that span ... Vanek's goal moved him past Craig Ramsey and into sole possession of fifth place on the Sabres' all-time list with 253 ... Tavares has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak ... Buffalo has now prevailed in three straight visits to Nassau Coliseum, its longest streak at the venue since a three-gamer from Oct. 25, 2005-Oct. 26, 2006.