The New York Rangers absolutely stole a win right from under the Sabres this evening as they scored the game winning goal with less than a second remaining. The Sabres and Rangers traded goals all night long, but it would be Ryan Lindgren getting the last laugh after tapping home a ridiculous passing play at the top of the crease. Alexandar Georgiev got the start in goal for the Rangers this evening, but was pulled after 40 minutes and replaced with Igor Shesterkin.
Rasmus Asplund (5) - Zemgus Girgensons (5) & Kyle Okposo (5) PPG - 15:53
The Rangers had a relatively slow start to this game right from the opening faceoff, and then followed it up with two consecutive penalties. That gave the Sabres some momentum and confidence with the puck, and Rasmus Asplund was finally able to put Buffalo on the board. A point shot by Kyle Okposo was deflected in front by Zemgus Girgensons, which created chaos in front of New York’s net. Rasmus Asplund was able to locate the loose puck and banged home his fifth of the season to give the Sabres an early 1-0 lead.
Chris Kreider (13) - Artemiy Panarin (13) & Adam Fox (13) PPG - 19:37
The Rangers needed some type of answer before the end of the period, and they got just that from the red-hot Chris Kreider with his 13th of the season. New York finally went on the power play with Jacob Bryson being sent off for wiping out Filip Chytil behind the net. Artemiy Panarin went right to work after the faceoff win, and found Chris Kreider all alone in the high slot. Kreider was able to get a powerful one-timer shot off and beat Aaron Dell just over the right leg pad to even the game up at 1-1.
Vinnie Hinostroza (2) - Unassisted - 2:26
Just over two minutes into the second period, the Sabres got a gift from Jarred Tinordi as he was attempting to transition the puck up ice. Vinnie Hinostroza never even flinched on Tinordi’s shoulder fake to get free and he stripped the puck cleanly off of Tinordi’s stick. Alexandar Georgiev didn’t stand much of a chance after being left out to dry on the breakaway and Hinostroza gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead.
Jacob Trouba (2) - Artemiy Panarin (14) & Filip Chytil (2) - 8:03
About six minutes after giving up the lead for the second time this evening, the Rangers responded after dominating the Sabres on the delayed penalty. The Rangers were able to keep the Sabres pinned in their own zone for close to a minute on the 6-on-5 advantage, and it Jacob Trouba registered his second goal of the season.
Artemiy Panarin decided to get the puck towards the front of the net with Buffalo exhausted, and it worked out perfectly. Trouba was able to locate the loose puck in behind Aaron Dell and brought the game back to even once again.
Kaapo Kakko (3) - Ryan Strome (9) & Artemiy Panarin (15) - 12:07
Shortly after the Rangers pulled back even, Kaapo Kakko put the Rangers out in front with his third goal of the season. The goal started with great defense at one end, and New York was able to quickly transition the puck up the ice. Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko worked a give-and-go as they entered the zone, and that opened up the entire ice for Kaako. With plenty of time to pick his spot, Kakko walked in an snapped a hard shot under the arm of Aaron Dell to make it a 3-2 game.
Tage Thompson (6) - Rasmus Dahlin (7) & Mark Pysyk (4) - 12:57
Exactly 50 seconds later, Buffalo would storm right back down the ice and tie the game up for the third time. Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin’s swap at the blue line caused some confusion for the Rangers, and they left the whole left side of the ice open uncontested. Tage Thompson was able to walk in all alone and he snapped a heavy wrist shot under the crossbar to tie up the game at three apiece.
Rasmus Dahlin (3) - Kyle Okposo (7) & Tage Thompson (5) - 13:12
Almost immediately after tying the game, the Sabres kept up their pressure in the offensive zone and caught Alexandar Georgiev sleeping in the crease. Even though the shot had some heat behind it from Rasmus Dahlin, it’s definitely a save that Georgiev needs to make being that it was an unscreened chance. Nonetheless, the Rangers found themselves down a goal with under seven minutes remaining in the second period.
K’Andre Miller (2) - Barclay Goodrow (5) & Ryan Reaves (1) - 13:29
As if this game wasn’t already bonkers enough for everyone, the Rangers found a way to tie up the game on a similar shot from K’Andre Miller. Barclay Goodrow made a great play to slip through two defenders and worked the puck back up top to K’Andre Miller. Miller’s quick wrist shot from just inside the blue line somehow eluded Aaron Dell after a slight change in direction, and ended up in the back of the net. The goal concluded a five minute span worth of goals, and the game ended up deadlocked at 4-4 heading into the third period.
Ryan Lindgren (2) - Mika Zibanejad (11) & Adam Fox (14) - 19:59
This game seemed destined for overtime with the Rangers dominating the third period, but being unable to break through. However, with less than 5 seconds remaining in the game, a loose puck in the corner popped out front and it was all over from there. The Rangers somehow put together a ridiculous tic-tac-toe passing play in the slot, and the puck ended up on Ryan Lindgren’s stick with less than a minute remaining. Lindgren had to just tap home the puck with Aaron Dell down and out, and the Rangers snatched the win right out of the Sabres’ hands.
Given how the second period ended, you had to know this game was going to have some type of storybook ending. Thankfully, it was the Rangers on the winning of that play, and I’m still shocked that they had that much patience with the clock winding down. With tonight’s miraculous win, the Rangers have now won five of their last six games, and will be back in action on Wednesday night against the New York Islanders.