Game one of the season resulted in two big points for the New York Rangers as they departed upstate New York on the back of a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was a game that had the feeling of Ranger dominance early with no signs of it letting up, but as the game went on, we started to see just how strong this team could be with the right management and head coach.
After the Sabres started the night with a beautiful tribute to the late great Rick Jeanneret, who passed away at the age of 81 recently, the entire stadium seemed to embrace the former voice of the Sabres with chants of “RJ, RJ”. A man who carried himself in a classy way and gave multiple iconic moments to the city of Buffalo and the National Hockey League was remembered as the Sabres started their season. But then, it was Rangers who took over.
It was Alexis Lafreniere who grabbed the first goal of the season at 3:47 of the first period off of a disgusting pass from Artemi Panarin. Filip Chytil would also grab an assist on that one as the Rangers started the game early and were rewarded for their efforts. Chris Kreider would score a powerplay goal, shockingly, at 12:22 as he tipped in an Adam Fox point shot to make it 2-0 at the break. Mika Zibanejad got the secondary assist there.
In the second, Panarin grabbed the puck at the Ranger blue line after Lafreniere forced a turnover. A beautiful shot that went ping and in as the Rangers made it a three-goal advantage for the Blueshirts. At 12:49 of the second period, the Blueshirts had full control of this game, and it looked like it was in the bag. Buffalo were still trying to fight, but the Rangers looked disciplined and weren’t giving anything away.
John-Jason Peterka would get the Sabres on the board with 1:30 left in the middle frame breaking the shutout bid from Igor Shesterkin, but it was never in doubt. There have been Ranger games in the past where it felt like the game was going to fall out of the hands of the New York franchise, but this one never felt that way. It was a solid performance all the way around for this team through two.
In the third, the Rangers kept pouring it on. Kreider would grab his second of the game with a short-handed goal from Zibanejad and K’Andre Miller at 11:34 of the third period. Eventually, even captain Jacob Trouba would get in on the fun to cap the game off with a goal to make it 5-1 Rangers with just 1:29 remaining in the game. Laviolette’s team dominated this affair, and this game should ease the anxiety among the fanbase a little bit.
With the season opener in the books, the Rangers now get to look ahead to their second game of the season, which will be Saturday night in Columbus. That will be a 7 PM Eastern start time, and as always, you can keep up to date with the latest Rangers news here on Blue Line Station.