Last night the New York Rangers had to work harder than they anticipated to defeat the Buffalo Sabres. The final score was 2-1, but the Sabres took the early lead and held the Rangers to a minimum of shots for most of the game. In the third period, the Rangers had only three shots on goal. Rick Nash managed to get the game winner with some puck luck and a smile from the hockey gods. The NHL, as always, named their three stars of the game. While I think they made sense, I think there were different players that were stars of the game.
The Official Stars were:
3) Matt Hackett: the third string AHL goal tender allowed two goals from 30 shots. He took some real zingers to his head and arm and stayed in the game. He registered a .933 save percentage and really kept the Sabres in the game.
2) Benoit Pouliot: He got the Rangers on the board first when they were down a goal. He had three shots on goal and two minutes in penalties in his 15:48 of ice time; 3:50 of which was power play time. He also gave the puck away three times in the game and lost all three faceoffs he took.
1) Rick Nash: He scored the game winner late in the third, he registered four shots on goal in his 16:42 of ice time; 3:37 in power play time. He had two shots blocked and he blocked a shot himself.
While I agree that these guys all played a great game, even Hackett, I’m picking three different players based on their hustle.