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Rangers vs. Sabres: Kreider, Kakko Score Twice As Rangers Top Sabres 5-3

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers picked up their second straight victory this evening as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 in regulation time. Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko each scored a pair of goals on the night, as the Rangers clawed back from coughing up a two-goal lead in the third period. Keith Kinkaid also received his second straight start and continues to show he’s a reliable option with a 13-save win.

1st Period

No scoring.

2nd Period

Rasmus Asplund (2) - Riley Sheahan (3) & Victor Olofsson (12) - 3:52

The Rangers had several prime scoring opportunities throughout the game, but it would be the Sabres jumping out in front early in the second period. Keith Kinkaid made two highlight-reel saves prior to the goal, but was caught watching the play at it went behind the net. Riley Sheahan was able to fool Kinkaid with a quick move back to the left post, and shoveled a pass out front. Rasmus Asplund was ready and waiting for the loose puck and flipped it over the pad to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead.

Kaapo Kakko (3) - Artemiy Panarin (18) - 7:13

New York was playing well enough despite allowing the early goal, and they eventually were rewarded with the tying goal. Artemiy Panarin created the entire play by keeping his legs moving behind the net, and found Kaapo Kakko cutting to the net. Kakko wound up fumbling the initial pass but followed up the rebound and slammed home his third of the season. The goal ended an extended goal drought for the 20-year old and evened up the game at Madison Square Garden.

Chris Kreider (15) - Artemiy Panarin (19) & Adam Fox (17) PPG - 10:39

A little over three minutes later, the Rangers were able to retake control of the game as Chris Kreider picked up his 15th goal of the season. New York had a two-man advantage for about 30 seconds, and were able to quickly capitalize. Artemiy Panarin also registered his second primary assist of the evening as he found Chris Kreider in his office at the top of the crease. Kreider got a stick on the puck as it came towards the net, and deflected the puck under Dustin Tokarski.

Adam Fox (3) - Mika Zibanejad (13) & Pavel Buchnevich (18) - 18:18

With under two minutes remaining in the middle frame, the Rangers were able to double up their lead after catching the Sabres sleeping in the neutral zone. Adam Fox was able to generate a 3-on-2 odd-man rush after collecting a loose puck, and quickly transitioned the puck up the ice. Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich combined to create one-timer shot at the top of the faceoff circle, and Dustin Tokarski was unable to handle the rebound. Adam Fox followed up the play and was able to tap home the loose puck in the crease to cap off a three-goal second period for the Rangers.

3rd Period

Dylan Cozens (4) - Sam Reinhart (9) - 1:09

Buffalo was able to jump back into the just 1:09 into the third period, however, as Dylan Cozens quickly converted on a chance. K’Andre Miller made a costly turnover along the boards in his own zone, and Sam Reinhart was able to take possession of the loose puck. Reinhart immediately found Dylan Cozens cutting through the middle of the ice, and Cozens absolutely sniped a shot over the shoulder of Keith Kinkaid.

Jeff Skinner (3) - Brandon Montour (7) - 4:22

The Sabres kept coming early in the third period, and caught the Rangers on another transition play through the middle of the ice. Brandon Montour fed an incredible seam pass through the neutral zone, and found Jeff Skinner all alone on a breakaway. The Rangers were in the process of making a partial change on defense, and that allowed Skinner all the time in the world. Skinner was able to step into a heavy snap shot, and picked the top left corner of the net to tie up the game at 3-3.

Chris Kreider (16) - Ryan Strome (15) & Adam Fox (18) PPG - 5:47

Even though the Rangers coughed up a two-goal lead early in the third period, they were able to respond rather quickly. Casey Mittelstadt was sent off for a minor, and that gave the Rangers the opportunity that they needed. After gaining possession and setting up, Ryan Strome was able to unload a heavy slap shot on goal, and the rebound popped right out in front. Chris Kreider was able to jump on the rebound and swatted home on second of the evening to restore the one-goal lead.

Kaapo Kakko (4) - Artemiy Panarin (20) & Ryan Strome (16) ENG - 19:02

New York was able to clean up some of their defensive miscues earlier in the period, and were able to hold the Sabres off the board for the rest of the game. The Rangers were able to force a turnover courtesy of Artemiy Panarin, and they broke up the ice with a chance to ice the game. Panarin deferred to Kaapo Kakko as defenders closed in on him, and Kakko deposited the puck to give the Rangers a much needed win.

It got pretty scary early in the third period with the Rangers coughing up their two-goal lead, but they quickly found a way to respond. Chris Kreider continued to be a dominant force in front of the net, and Kaapo Kakko was able to finally break his extended scoring drought. Overall, it was a solid win for the Rangers and one they needed to win with the Sabres being an absolute dumpster fire.

Following tonight’s victory, the Rangers will have a two-day break before returning to action on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.