NEW YORK (AP) - John Tavares scored twice to lead the New York Islanders to a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in their home opener Saturday night.
Casey Cizikas had two goals and an assist, and Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, who won a night after losing 5-0 at Columbus. Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots.
Evander Kane scored twice and Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who are still seeking their first win under new coach Phil Housley. Robin Lehner gave up four goals on 16 shots and was pulled early in the second. Chad Johnson finished with 15 saves.
The Islanders were 0 for 3 on the power play and Buffalo was 0 for 4, but each team scored two short-handed goals in a wild second period.
New York scored three times - including twice short-handed - in a 1:47 span that gave them a 4-0 lead seven minutes into the period.
Buffalo went on the power play 4:50 in after the Islanders' Scott Mayfield was whistled for a double-minor when he got tangled up with Rasmus Ristolainen, who also received a penalty.
Tavares got his second of the night as he intercepted a pass by Nathan Beaulieu near Buffalo's blue line, skated in on Lehner and backhanded it over the goalie's glove at 5:13.
Cizikas made it 3-0 just 50 seconds later on the same Buffalo power play on a slap shot from the left circle.
Shortly after the Sabres' power play ended, Bailey got a pass from Josh Ho-Sang from behind the goal line and wristed it past Lehner's blocker to make it 4-0 and end the goalie's night.
Kane got the Sabres on the scoreboard just past the midpoint of the period. With New York on the man advantage, Eichel stole the puck from Halak behind the net and sent a pass from the left corner in front to Kane, who put it in before Halak could recover.
Kane scored short-handed again on a wraparound with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the middle period to pull the Sabres to 4-2.
Beauvillier scored on a rebound after Johnson made several nice stops to restore the Islanders' three-goal lead at 5:39 of the third.
Eichel pulled the Sabres back within two with 3:44 remaining with his first of the season.
Buffalo then pulled Johnson for an extra skater with 2 1/2 minutes to go and nearly scored again with a little over a minute left, but Halak smothered the puck before it trickled over the line.
Cizikas added an empty-netter with 26 seconds left.
Tavares got the Islanders on the scoreboard 1:50 into the game. Jordan Eberle, acquired from Edmonton in an offseason trade, brought the puck up the right side on a 2-on-1 and sent a saucer pass across to Tavares in the left circle and the captain waited and wristed the puck over a sprawled Lehner.
The goal moved Tavares past Bobby Nystrom into sole possession of eighth place on the franchise list with his 236th career goals. His second goal put him one behind Bob Bourne (238) for seventh.
NOTES: Tavares now has 14 goals and 25 points in 24 career games against the Sabres. Eberle has six points in 10 games vs. Buffalo. ... Islanders D Nick Leddy appeared in his 500th career game. ... F Jason Chimera played in his 190th consecutive game - 106 with Washington and the last 84 with the Islanders. ... The teams play two more times this season, back here on Dec. 27 and at Buffalo on Feb. 8. ... The Sabres have now given up three short-handed goals in two games. ... Buffalo F Kyle Okposo, who missed the end of last season while dealing with severe post-concussion symptoms that landed him in a hospital, received a strong ovation from the crowd before the game. Okposo, in his second year with the Sabres, had 139 goals and 230 assists in nine seasons with the Islanders.
Sabres: Host New Jersey on Monday.
Islanders: Host St. Louis on Monday before heading out on a four-game western trip.
© 2017 Associated Press