This evening, the New York Rangers headed into Buffalo to face-off against the Sabres looking to continue their recent string of good play on the road, and once again go one game above the .500 mark.
Yesterday, news broke that Henrik Lundqvist agreed to a seven-year contract extension which will most likely make him a Ranger for the rest of his career. Tonight, he lived up to the money he was given ($8.5 mm per year) as he made 27 saves and backstopped his team to a 3-1 victory over Buffalo.
Rick Nash got the Rangers going in the first period when he pulled off a nifty move and tucked the puck neatly past a sprawling Ryan Miller, making the game 1-0. Brad Richards did his part as he added a powerplay goal in the third period, and Mats Zuccarello widened New York’s lead when his shot on a partial-break found it’s way past Miller.
With almost two minutes left in the third, Tyler Ennis managed to beat Lundqvist and ended his possible shutout by making the game 3-1. However, the Rangers held them off and snatched two points.
The final period was where Lundqvist really shined as he made some acrobatic and terrific saves to give his team the win as we have seen him do so many times in the past. He looks like a goalie who is no longer worried about a looming contract.
The Rangers continue to be “road warriors,” as they are 10-8-0 on the road this season, which has them tied for second in the league when it comes to road victories.
It has been established this year that the Blueshirts’ problem has been consistency. We have seen them play amazing games but then come out flat in the next and drop a vital two points.
They are going to need to find their consistency as it is going to become a key part in their future. They are returning home to play the next nine games at Madison Square Garden.
Their goal right now has to be to make that place one of the toughest arenas to play in.
The New Jersey Devils visit on Saturday night, and the Rangers are going to need to come out flying because they cannot afford to hover around the .500 mark all season if they want to become a successful playoff team.
This next stretch is the perfect opportunity to pick up some points and gain ground on the teams currently in front of them in the standings.