Despite having just one regulation win in their last 11, the Rangers are well and truly off to winning ways in the Patrick Kane era on broadway. New York managed to grab a victory in Ottawa as Artemi Panarin would score to grab victory in a game that the Blueshirts had no business being in after one of the poorer performances of the season and a netminder that refuses to let the Rangers get too far behind the eight ball.
New York would concede the first goal of the game, as Jeff Skinner was able to fire past Igor Shesterkin in the second period to put the playoff-chasing Sabres ahead of the third-placed team in the Metropolitan. There was no real fightback at the time from the Blueshirts as the Sabres were definitely the team with the momentum. There was little to no resistance at the time of the goal.
That was up until Patrick Kane broke down the wing and flung a puck across the slot for a Sabre to kick perfectly past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to tie the game up at one. I cannot tell you why it happened, I can just say that Patrick Kane firmly had no idea how on earth it went in but they all count the same and after Kane’s trigonometry lesson on the fly, the game is tied as we go into a rather one-sided third period.
Igor stood on his brain and skull to deny the Sabres’ top-six time and again as the Rangers back end seemed to opt out of playing the third period. With that big performance from the reigning Vezina-winning netminder, the Rangers were in good hands as the Russian shot-stopper guided the original six franchise to overtime. With this major performance from a goalie that had been struggling, the Rangers were good enough to get something.
In overtime, an Artemi Panarin powerplay goal sealed the fate of the Sabres as they fell in overtime and the Rangers make it back-to-back wins in the extra frame with a shootout win in Montreal followed up by this OT victory in Buffalo. While this did not go exactly to the game plan that Gerard Gallant and his coaching staff drew up, it was good enough to get the two points tonight.
This game will be followed up with a trip to Pittsburgh. The Penguins will not be an easier opponent than the Sabres were and the travel could take its toll on the Blueshirts squad. That said, the Rangers are now 9 points back of the Devils and 7 points up on the Penguins. There are in no man’s land headed down the stretch, which does not bode well for getting ready for a deep playoff run with meaningful, competitive games.