Houser wins in NHL debut as Sabres rallly past Islanders 4-2

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Michael Houser stopped 34 shots in his NHL debut, Sam Reinhart scored twice in Buffalo’s three-goal third period and the Sabres beat the playoff-bound New York Islanders 4-2 on Monday night.

Tage Thompson and Rasmund Asplund also scored for Buffalo, which trailed 2-0 early in the second period.

Houser spent the past 8 1/2 seasons in the minor leagues. It was his first game since March 7, 2020, with Cincinnati of the ECHL.

Adam Pelech and Oliver Wahlstrom scored for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov, coming off three straight shutouts, finished with 36 saves.

The Islanders fell to fourth place in the Eastern Division —one point behind Boston, which beat New Jersey 3-0. The Bruins also have a game in-hand on the Islanders.

The teams finish their season series Tuesday night in Buffalo.

Thompson’s power-play goal got the Sabres on the scoreboard with 5:56 left in the second period and ended Varlamov’s shutout streak at 248 minutes.

Asplund tied the score with 8:35 remaining in the third.

Reinhart gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead with 4:04 left and sealed the win with an empty-netter, his career high-tying 25th, with 52 seconds to go.


Buffalo signed goalie Stefanos Lekkas to a professional tryout deal on Monday. Lekkas was the backup for the Sabres AHL team in Rochester and is 1-4-1 with a .863 save percentage with a 4.32 goals-against average. He backed up Houser on Monday night due to injuries to goalies Dustin Tokarski, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Carter Hutton, and Linus Ullmark.


Sabres: Tokarski did not dress for the Sabres. Interim coach Don Granato said Monday morning they wanted to give Tokarski a day off and see where he is at

Islanders: Forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau was replaced by Travis Zajac in the lineup. Pageau missed part of the third period of the Islanders’ 3-0 win against the Rangers on Saturday