Tonight, we witnessed the Buffalo Sabres head into the revamped Madison Square Garden to face-off against the New York Rangers.
Throughout the stretch of the past four games, we have seen a completely different Rangers team. Saturday against the Red Wings, Monday against the Canadiens, Tuesday night against the Islanders and tonight against Buffalo, they battled hard, competed for 60 minutes, controlled the tempo and pace of play and their offense has been reawakened with the comeback of Carl Hagelin and the call-up of Chris Kreider.
In the opening minute, the Rangers looked a little sloppy in their own end, as the Sabres got a few quality chances in front of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. At one moment, Buffalo forwards were staring at a gaping net to fire into. Fortunately, Mats Zuccarello came to the rescue and blocked a shot that was bound for the net. After that sequence, the Rangers dominated from there on. They got their forecheck working, which the Sabres had no answer to, Kreider looked terrific once again along with his linemates Derek Stepan and Zuccarello. A tripping penalty taken by defenseman Tyler Myers led New York to their first goal of the night, Derick Brassard fired a bullet from the point, making it 1-0. The Rangers continued to get shots, but Ryan Miller stood tall and managed to keep the Sabres in it after one period.
The second period showed us more of the same; a relentless Rangers forecheck. They carried their momentum from the first, and generated even more scoring chances and kept Miller working. The battle level was there and so was the work ethic. They simply looked like a team that is desperate for points. 11 minutes into the period, Kreider put the puck on net from an awkward angle near the corner and he managed to bank it off of a sprawling Miller and into the net for a 2-0 Rangers lead. The Rangers would continue their dominance, as they finished the period with 38 shots on goal. Late in the period, the Sabres got some quality chances, but Lundqvist stood his ground as he always does, making some tremendous saves to keep the 2-0 lead intact for the Blueshirts.
The third stanza saw more chances for the Sabres, but the Rangers’ defense continued to hold down the fort and keep the scoreline at 2-0. The rest of the period was basically back and forth play between the two teams, both weren’t giving up much on the ice. The Rangers locked down on the defensive end and kept the Sabres from getting any magnificent scoring chances. The buzzer sounded and signaled a 2-0 win for the hometown Blueshirts.
Overall, it was another solid effort by New York. It was their first win on home ice this season, Lundqvist picked up his 2nd shutout of the season (47th career), the Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello line turned in another great effort and the crowd was certainly pleased after the game as the Rangers picked up another two points as they continue their ascension in the Metro Division standings.
Scoring Summary (Courtesy of NHL.com)
|08:23||NYR||PPG - Derick Brassard (2) Wrist shot – ASST: Michael Del Zotto (2), J.T. Miller (1)||1 – 0 NYR|
|11:21||NYR||Chris Kreider (2) Snap shot – ASST: Mats Zuccarello (2), Ryan McDonagh (3)||2 – 0 NYR|