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Chris Kreider’s OT winner gives Rangers the win; Lundqvist makes 36 saves

Alexandra Russo

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The New York Rangers played a hard-fought game against the Buffalo Sabres on the road and skated off victoriously with a well-deserved 2-1 overtime win.

After giving up three of the first four shots on goal, the Rangers started to look alive. They had a great scoring chance when the net was left open on one side, but they weren’t able to put it home. Nash had a two on one and almost a breakaway on a shift that included some beautiful moves in the Sabres’ zone. Nash was arguably the best player of the first twenty minutes and one of the best throughout the rest of the game.

Halfway thought the first period of play, the Sabres pushed the pace and tried shots from all angles. Their best one was when Evader Kane made a move on the Rangers’ defense and came down on a brief two on one. The pass to Gionta made it through, but Lundqvist stuck out his pad for a blocker save. The puck then flew in the air and couldn’t be batted down into the net, trickling just wide.

Klein took a hooking penalty, and then Girardi took another one a few minutes later, but their penalty killing came up strong, stopping eleven of their last twelve short-handed situations. Although the Sabres had claim to the first two power plays of the game, the Rangers managed to come out on top in the shots on goal department by a slim 14-12 advantage.

The second period started out fast for the Rangers, as they went all out on the opposition’s goaltender, Lehner. He came up strong for his team, coming up with a great save on Grabner where he slid across the crease to stop him.

The Rangers had their first power play of the game less than five minutes into the second period, and they continued not being able to sustain pressure. Their passing has been off as of their latest man advantage situations. One of the things that would help them is if McDonagh took more of his hard blasts from the point, but it’s the entire units that must perform better.

It might as well have been a game of air hockey at points, with both teams trading chances at insane speeds, flying up and down the ice.

Jesper Fast dove down for a stuff-in try on Lehner. Gionta had a two on one opportunity, and Lundqvist came out of the blue paint to stop him. McDonagh blasted a shot and so did Klein. It was absolute madness for a while.

Nash forced a penalty on Foligno, and this time, the Rangers were able to capitalize. It was their first time in 17 chances and in five games that they were able to do so. Ryan McDonagh took a hard shot from the point that was tipped on the way in by Mats Zuccarello, beating Lehner top shelf for a one goal lead with 2:10 left in the middle period. It was Zucc’s twentieth point in as many games, including three goals and seventeen assists. The talented #36 leads the Rangers in assists this season.

Odd-man rushes swarmed the first minutes of the third period of action. Zuccarello got robbed by the glove of Lehner, trying to complete a feed from Zibanejad.

Girardi’s second penalty of the game put the Rangers’ penalty killing units into action. Grabner had yet another two on one, and just as the PK ended, Nash went down the ice on a two on one with Stepan. Both were denied by Lehner, who faced a lot of quality chances throughout the night. Nash had one of the best chances of the period when he went flying up the ice, the puck bouncing around in the air. He wasn’t able to control it the right way and couldn’t get a clean shot off, despite his skillful moves.

Cody Franson got the Buffalo crowd on its feet when he tied the game at one with about five and a half minutes to go. He used Zibanejad as a screen in front of Lundqvist and snapped a shot that got past the Rangers’ netminder on the side. A dramatic game was headed to overtime.

The upbeat three on three overtime never has a dull moment. The Sabres got the first chances, dinging one off the post and one being denied by a great save by Lundqvist. The Sabres then took a penalty due to the sustained pressure by the Rangers in their zone. Just as the power play ended, Zibanejad went into the offensive zone all alone. He gave the puck to Miller who slid it across to Kreider with an open net. He buried it behind Lehner to end a heart-pounding game by a final score of 2-1.

This goal was Kreider’s first regular season overtime goal. It’s also his third consecutive twenty goal season.

In summation, trying to count the amount of chances between Nash and Grabner was like trying to count stars in the sky in this game. Lundqvist was brilliant in net. The defense, although giving up over thirty shots on goal, played fairly well. Staal looked more comfortable in his second game back, and Zucc just keeps rolling with the points.

Their next game is Sunday as they take on the point-hungry Calgary Flames. The Rangers currently lead the NHL in road wins but have struggled at home as of late. Don’t miss the action in their 2 o’clock start as they aim to build a winning streak.

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Posted on February 3, 2017, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Living upstate now I was able to get to the game last night. I thought Grabner was fast watching him on TV but after last night I see he’s so much faster then I imagined anyone could skate. I sat 4th row center ice so I could really get a look at him and he looked like a blur flying by. On the other hand Klein looked worse then he looks in TV. That hip check he tried where he was beat early in the game which almost ended in a goal was terrible. They really need to get out of their end faster and cleaner and must stop that mess of not being able to clear the zone. Lundqvist had a real nice bounce back game though and that’s very important I think.

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