The New York Rangers picked up their first home win of the season tonight against the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 2-0. Henrik Lundqvist earned his second shutout of the regular season, and 47th of his career which passes both Ken Dryden and Nikolai Khabibulin for 27th-all time. This win gives the Rangers their first winning streak of the season as well, and they have now won three of their last four games.
In the opening minutes of the first period, the Rangers struggled to find their feet, and were looking very sloppy in their defensive end. Luckily for us, that little funk didn't last too long, and the Rangers quickly went back on the attack. The Rangers were able to total up 19 shots in the first period, but only came away with a single goal. Ryan Miller played an outstanding game for the Buffalo Sabres, and it appeared as if he was the only player who showed up to play.
After a quick, unexpected fight from Brandon Mashinter and Cody McCormick, the Rangers received their first power play of the game a few minutes later. Derek Stepan wound up drawing the penalty off of a relentless forecheck, and eventually drew Tyler Myers into a tripping call.
The Rangers had some excellent puck movement on the power play, and the puck eventually worked itself over the Derick Brassard, who ripped a howitzer over the shoulder of Ryan Miller. From that point on, the Rangers really went to work in the corners, and basically left the Sabres without any answer for their strong forecheck.
The Rangers continued to work throughout the rest of the first period, as well as the second, but weren't able to get much past Miller. As stated before, this game could have easily been out of hand at this point, but Miller was up to the task for everything the Rangers tossed his way. Finally, Chris Kreider was able to break the drought, and banked one in off of Ryan Miller's pad to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
Let me just touch of Kreider quickly here. My word, he's been coming up huge for the Rangers since his call up. There was some concern with his consistency, but he's been quieting the haters so far. He's been a big part of the Rangers offense, and he's been playing like a player the Rangers have been hoping he'd turn into.
The third period was more of a shutdown period for the Rangers, as they looked to preserve the win, as well as the shutout for Henrik Lundqvist. There were some scary moments late in the game, as the Sabres appeared to swing the momentum back in their favor, but Lundqvist was there to answer the call.
With tonight's win, the Rangers win their second straight game, and are now just a single point out of second place in the Metropolitan Division. This winning thing feels pretty good. Let's keep it up against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday!