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Rangers vs Sabres: Slow Start Dooms Rangers Against Buffalo

Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Rangers made a comeback bid late in the third period tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, but simply ran out of time after pulling back within a goal. New York didn’t have a great start to this game at all, and that played a factor after falling behind 3-0 in this game. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider registered the goals for the Rangers late in the third period, while Alexandar Georgiev got the start in goal and turned away 25 shots.

1st Period

Zemgus Girgensons (10) - Colin Miller (8) - 10:26 1st Period

Even after playing just 24 hours prior, the Sabres were able to control most of the chances early on in this game. As a result, the Rangers were back on their heels a bit and got burned as Buffalo beat them coming into the zone 2-on-5. Colin Miller found Zemgus Girgensons cutting to the net on the outside, and Girgensons buried the puck with a power move past Alexandar Georgiev. The Rangers had all five guys surrounding the puck, and no one was able to defend the rush coming the other way.

2nd Period

Sam Reinhart (20) - Jack Eichel (36) & Jimmy Vesey (9) - 15:16 2nd Period

The Rangers collected themselves a bit in the second period, but following an extended offensive zone shift, Buffalo was able to transition the chance into another goal. Jack Eichel was able to spring Sam Reinhart on a partial breakaway following a blocked shot, and Reinhart had body position coming towards the net. Georgiev played the shot well, but was beat cleanly after Reinhart surprised him with a quick backhander under the crossbar.

3rd Period

Jimmy Vesey (8) - Jack Eichel (37) - 11:56 3rd Period

New York’s defensive woes continued midway through the third period as they surrendered another breakaway with three guys surrounding the puck. Jack Eichel made an excellent stretch pass through the middle of the ice during a Rangers’ line change, and sent Jimmy Vesey in on a breakaway. A quick move to the backhand was all Vesey needed to fool the goaltender, and he extended Buffalo’s lead to 3-0.

Mika Zibanejad (22) - Artemiy Panarin (45) & Marc Staal (6) - 17:07 3rd Period

The Rangers finally broke the shutout streak with under three minutes remaining in the game as Mika Zibanejad picked up his 22nd goal of the season. Artemiy Panarin created the entire goal with an unbelievable pass on his backend, and put the puck right on Zibanejad’s tape at the far end of the net. Carter Hutton didn’t stand much of a chance after reacting to the pass late, and Zibanejad pulled the Rangers back within a pair of goals.

Chris Kreider (20) PPG - Kaapo Kakko (11) & Mika Zibanejad (25) - 18:20 3rd Period

With a little over a minute and a half remaining in the game, the Rangers made things extremely interesting as Chris Kreider made it a one-goal game. Following a net-front scramble, the puck popped right out to the top of the crease where Kreider jumped on the chance. The puck just barely crossed the goal line after deflecting off of Carter Hutton and made it a 3-2 game.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, they weren’t able to get much control following Kreider’s marker and ran out of time. The Rangers didn’t necessarily lose any position in the standings, but this one stings because they missed an opportunity to capitalize on their games in hand. Following tonight’s disappointing loss, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before closing out their homstand on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Kings.