The New York Rangers defeated the Buffalo Sabres this evening by a final score of 3-2 in overtime. Buffalo was able to tie up the game with three seconds remaining in regulation before Mika Zibanejad ended the game in overtime.
Rasmus Asplund (3) - Jeff Skinner (2) - 2:06
After finally snapping their 18-game losing streak just 24 hours prior, the Sabres opened this game notably quicker than they have in the past. As a result, Buffalo was able to jump out to an early 1-0 just over two minutes after the opening faceoff. All three forwards crashed the net for Buffalo after a point shot by Rasmus Dahlin left a loose puck in the crease. Rasmus Asplund was able to locate the rebound, and shoveled a shot past Igor Shesterkin to make it a 1-0 game in favor of the Sabres.
Colin Blackwell (9) - Artemiy Panarin (24) & Ryan Strome (23) - 6:40
Follow numerous scoring opportunities in the offensive zone, the Rangers finally pulled even as Colin Blackwell picked up his ninth goal of the season. New York was able to transition the puck through the neutral zone, and had a 2-on-1 rush back the other way. Colin Blackwell wired the first attempt off of the crossbar after receiving a perfect pass from Artemiy Panarin. The Rangers stuck with the play, and the puck came right back to Blackwell, who slammed home the second opportunity from the left faceoff circle.
Filip Chytil (7) - Julien Gauthier (6) & Alexis Lafrenière (6) - 6:17
Six minutes into the third period, the Rangers upped their pressure in the offensive zone and were able to force Buffalo into a turnover. Jacob Trouba was able to jump a passing lane and carried the puck down by the goal line before deferring to Julien Gauthier. New York kept digging away for the loose puck, and it eventually popped out at the top of the crease. Filip Chytil was able to collect the loose puck, and flipped it over Dustin Tokarski to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the game.
Tage Thompson (2) - Casey Mittelstadt (5) & Sam Reinhart (10) - 19:56
Within the final minute of play, the Sabres kept the play alive in the offensive zone with the goaltender pulled. Pavel Buchnevich pinched up to make several plays on the puck, but just couldn’t find a way to clear the zone. Casey Mittselstadt made a great pass out to the middle of the ice and found Tage Thompson with an open shooting lane. Thompson was able to rifle a shot through traffic and beat Igor Shesterkin over the shoulder to tie the game.
Mika Zibanejad (12) - Artemiy Panarin (25) & Adam Fox (27) - 4:32
Both teams traded chances in the extra frame, and the Rangers finally caught their break with under a minute remaining. Adam Fox was able to force a turnover at the blue line and quickly transitioned the puck up ice for a 2-on-1 rush. Artemiy Panarin was able to draw a defender over to him and fed a quick pass back across to the slot to Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad absolutely hammered a one-timer with plenty of space and beat Tokarski up high to give New York the win in overtime.
Given Buffalo’s current state, this game was probably much closer than it needed to be. The Sabres were coming off their first win in 18 games, so it’s not too surprising that they had a little extra energy tonight. Thankfully, the Rangers were able to overcome adversity and escape with the second point courtesy of Mika Zibanejad. Following tonight’s win over the Sabres, the Rangers will have a day to recover before they do it all again on Saturday evening.