NY Rangers 3 – Buffalo 2 (SO)
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK -- The Buffalo Sabres made it three straight shootouts on Sunday, but the third time wouldn’t be the charm on this night.
Rick Nash scored the shootout deciding goal, along with a goal and assist in regulation, as the New York Rangers stopped Buffalo’s three-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory before a vociferous, sold-out crowd of 17,200 at Madison Square Garden. Nash and Ryan Callahan both scored on Ryan Miller in the shootout for New York, while Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis failed to convert their opportunities against Henrik Lundqvist, who picked up his league-leading 43rd all-time shootout victory.
The Rangers scored twice on the power play in the third period, after Patrick Kaleta received a five-minute major for checking from behind. Despite the shootout loss, the Sabres have now picked up seven of eight points in their last four games (3-0-1), after losing six of their previous seven.
A scoreless first period featured just 11 shots on goals, with the Rangers holding a 7-4 advantage. Marcus Foligno thwarted New York’s best scoring chance with a solid backcheck on Marian Gaborik to prevent a tap-in goal. Mike Weber blocked a Brad Richards point shot with his left knee midway through the period, but remained in the game after hobbling to bench afterwards.
In one of their best middle periods of the season, Buffalo headed to the second intermission with just their third lead of the season after two periods. The Sabres finally broke the seal at 8:04 thanks to some great faceoff work by rookie Mikhail Grigorenko in the Rangers’ zone. Grigorenko fed Drew Stafford off the draw, and his quick wrister eluded Henrik Lundqvist. Stafford’s second of the season ended a seven-game goalless drought.
With Andrej Sekera already in the box for hooking, the Sabres went down two men when Patrick Kaleta was given five minutes and a game misconduct for a hit from behind on Brad Richards at 3:28. Playing five-on-three, it only took the Rangers seven seconds to get on the board when Derek Stepan buried the cross-ice feed from Nash to even the score at 1-1. Still on the power play, Nash put the Rangers up by one with a shot from the right faceoff dot 4:18. But the Sabres would rally to tie the game at 2-2 with a shorthanded goal at 8:19, as Nathan Gerbe finished off a slick play from Steve Ott for his third of the year. It was also the second game in a row that Buffalo would score a shorthanded goal.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Christian Ehrhoff was credited with six shots on the night, and had two blocked and two others missed… Steve Ott’s game-high seven hits give him 101 on the season, good for second overall in the league behind Matt Martin’s 104... The Sabres are now 2-0-1 when leading after two periods… 163rd game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo leads the series with a 77-53-32 record. Buffalo is 31-30-20 on the road against the Rangers all-time.
LET'S PLAY TWO
Tonight’s game concluded Buffalo’s fifth of nine sets of back-to-back games this season after the team had a league-high 21 sets last season. The Sabres are 3-2-0 in the first game and 1-3-1 in the second. Buffalo’s point breakdown in back-to-back sets is as follows: four points (1), three points (1), two points (1), one point (0) and zero points (2)… Prior to this set, Buffalo hadn’t played back-to-back games since Feb. 9 and 10… Buffalo’s next back-to-back set isn’t until March 16-17.
Thomas Vanek missed his second consecutive game with an upper body injury. Ron Rolston said he hopes to have Vanek available on Tuesday in Carolina… In Vanek’s absence, Brian Flynn played his second game since being recalled on Friday… T.J. Brennan and John Scott were healthy scratches… Jordan Leopold (upper body, 5 games), Alexander Sulzer (lower body, 3 games) and Ville Leino (hip, 22 games) are all in IR.
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 28:15
Shots: Ehrhoff, 6
Blocked Shots: Pominville/Sekera, 3
Hits: Steve Ott, 7
Faceoff Wins: Cody Hodgson, 9
Total Faceoffs: Hodgson, 18 (9-9)
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Scoring first: 7-4-1
Tied after the first period: 6-6-2
Leading after the second period: 2-0-1
Outshooting an opponent: 2-3-2
Overall: 9/84, 10.7%
Road: 2/40, 5%
Overall: 77/96, 80.2%
Road: 48/58, 82.8%
*Tuesday @ Carolina, 7 p.m.
*Thursday @ New Jersey, 7 p.m.
*Sunday @ Philadelphia, 7 p.m.