BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — In his first-ever NHL game, 28-year-old Michael Houser made 34 saves as the Buffalo Sabres topped the New York Islanders 4-2.
"It's so exciting, I've worked my whole life for this, for it to happen and just to play a game is really special but to win, winning is always the goal, that's why we play is to win the game and I'm happy we were able to do that," Houser said after the game.
"I was walking off the bench and I had to stop and watch the celebration, and the excitement," interim head coach Don Granato said. "What an opportunity and incredible job to seize the opportunity. It was a very special night for a special person and it was great to be a part of it."
Houser, who is in his ninth season as a pro, hadn't started a professional game in more than a year. His last professional start was in the ECHL with Cincinnati in 2020.
"I'm just extremely happy for him," defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen said. "Good things happen to good people."
"The boys are really fired up for him," forward Tage Thompson added. "He was prepared for this opportunity and he took advantage of it."
Despite trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Sabres scored the next three goals to ultimately take the lead and earn their 14th win of the season.
Tage Thompson scored the Sabres' first goal on the power play in the second period to bring the home team within one. Rasmus Asplund later tied the game in the third period making it a 2-2 game with 8:35 left to play.
Less than five minutes later, Sam Reinhart redirected a shot from Rasmus Ristolainen to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead. Reinhart added the empty-netter to seal the win for the Sabres.
With his two goals on Monday, Reinhart now has 25 goals this season.
The Sabres have only three games left this season and take on the Islanders once again on Tuesday evening. Buffalo closes out the season with two road games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.