The New York Rangers lost their fourth straight one-goal game this evening as they were defeated 3-2 in regulation by the Buffalo Sabres. New York came out strong in the first period and opened the scoring just 6:28 from the opening puck drop. However, lazy penalties and several defensive lapses led to a dip in play, and Buffalo was able to storm back into the game. One bright spot on the evening was K’Andre Miller registering his first career NHL goal to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead late in the first period.
Chris Kreider (2) - Pavel Buchnevich (3) - 6:28
The KZB line was put back together by head coach David Quinn, and for a line that needed a spark, they certainly answered right away. Pavel Buchnevich did an excellent job of knocking the puck loose in the offensive zone, and chased it down below the goal line. Buchnevich was able to quickly wrap around the net with speed, and found Chris Kreider cutting through the middle of the ice. Kreider was able to pick up the puck in-stride, and snapped a quick wrist shot under the glove of Linus Ullmark.
Dylan Cozens (2) - Eric Staal (2) & Rasmus Ristolainen (3) PPG - 12:50
A little past the halfway mark of the opening period, Jack Johnson was sent off for an undisciplined tripping penalty, and gave Buffalo their first power play. Nearly a minute into the man-advantage, Dylan Cozens capped off a beautiful set play by the Sabres, and beat Georgiev through the legs. There wasn’t much that the penalty killers could do with a quick set play, but at the end of the day, it’s a penalty Johnson doesn’t have to be taking.
K’Andre Miller (1) - Colin Blackwell (1) & Brendan Lemieux (1) - 19:53
With less than a minute remaining in the first period, the Rangers’ fourth line went to work down below the goal line. Colin Blackwell was able to knock the puck loose and fed a crisp pass back out towards the blue line. K’Andre Miller was a in a perfect position to one-time the puck and wired a shot for the first goal of his young NHL career. Miller has been so good over the last 3-4 games for the Rangers, and it was nice to see him finally get rewarded.
Tobias Rieder (2) - Matt Irwin (1) - 6:03
This kind of play has driven DeAngelo's coaches nuts for years. Why is he drifting low on the perimeter on this play? He's the weak-side dman! Get in the middle and support Trouba!!!! pic.twitter.com/SKUeVhmgsE— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) January 27, 2021
With a chance to build on strong ending up the first period, the Rangers went to work on the power play. Right as the penalty was expiring, Jacob Trouba pinched in to keep the zone and the puck wound up deflecting over his stick. Unfortunately, he had little help from Tony DeAngelo, who completely drifted out of position and it resulted in a breakaway for Tobias Rieder. There’s absolutely no reason for DeAngelo to be that low in the zone when he should be rotating back to the middle of the ice to help support the puck. The total lack of awareness allowed Buffalo to jump back into the game, and they tied the score at 2-2.
Jack Eichel (1) - Victor Olofsson (3) & Rasmus Dahlin (1) PPG - 7:31
Nearly a minute and a half after Rieder’s tally, the Sabres jumped out to their first lead of the evening with a power play marker. Jack Eichel finally got the monkey off of his back and registered his first goal of the season right inside the hash marks. Victor Olofsson set him up with a beautiful tap pass in the middle, and Eichel beat Alexandar Georgiev over the shoulder with a quick snap shot.
The Rangers were unable to overcome the one-goal deficit in the third period, and they dropped their fourth straight game. The strong first period game everyone some hope, but then the penalties started piling up, and the Rangers just never got back to their game. A type of losing streak in a shortened season spells doom, but there have been some encouraging signs along the way. However, they’ll need to get it together here pretty soon if there is any glimmer of hope at getting back into playoff contention.
New York will have a shot at redemption as they meet up with the Buffalo Sabres this upcoming Thursday night.