About the game
The Rangers looked like the same team that demolished the Penguins when the game started. They swarmed the Buffalo zone and Frank Vatrano negated an icing and fed Mika Zibanejad for a shot at a wide open net. He missed. It didn’t matter. Four minutes into the game Chris Kreider fed a streaking Vatrano and he blasted a shot past a surprised Craig Anderson.
Just 18 seconds later, Vatrano stole the puck, broke in on the Buffalo goal and scored again.
The home crowd was delirious and the Rangers poured it on with 17 shot attempts to only four by the Sabres in the first 11 minutes. They couldn’t add to their lead and the Sabres started to alter the momentum and played the Blueshirts even the rest of the period. It finally paid off with only 1:48 left in the period when Ryan Strome attempted a pass to Chris Kreider that hit a skate and the turnover led to a goal by Rasmus Asplund. Despite all of the dominance, the Rangers ended the period nursing a one goal lead.
The second period got off to a disastrous start with the Sabres adding two goals in the first seven minutes. Will Butcher fired a shot from the blue line that eluded a screened Alexandar Georgiev just two minutes into the period. Almost five minutes later Kyle Okposo made a power move, crashing the net and putting the puck through Georgiev.
That was a score the goalie would have liked to have back.
The Rangers were reeling, going almost 13 minutes without a shot on goal from midway through the first period. They had only three shots on goal in first nine minutes of the period and things looked bleak when Alexis Lafrenière had a breakaway that was stopped by Anderson.
Lafrenière came back to score the tying goal just two minutes later, after great work on the boards by Jonny Brodzinski and an excellent pass from Filip Chytil.
The Rangers then got their only power play of the game when the Sabres were called for too many men, what seemed to be a blown call or at least a very iffy one. The Blueshirts’ power play was awesome, with six grade A shots on goal, but they couldn’t get one past Anderson and the second period ended tied 2-2.
The Rangers owned the third period and the pressure finally paid off when Artemi Panarin scored 3:52 into the period.
Andrew Copp did an excellent job winning the puck after the faceoff and he fed Jacob Trouba for a point shot that rebounded right to Panarin who slammed it home.
The Ranger continued to control play when Patrik Nemeth was called for high sticking at 12:08. Of course, the Sabres had only one shot in the third period until that penalty and it was on their second shot of the period that Jeff Skinner scored the tying power play goal.
With just under seven minutes left, everyone in the building knew the teams were headed to overtime and that was exactly what happened.
In the OT, both teams traded possession with the Rangers getting the best chances on a flurry of shots with Anderson stopping Jacob Trouba, Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin missing the net by inches. The Sabres turned the puck over and it was Alexis Lafrenière feeding a streaking K’Andre Miller who put a snapshot over Anderson for the game winner.
The Rangers finished with the only four shot attempts in the overtime and season sweep of the Sabres.
Here is a video recap of the game: