The New York Rangers won their second straight game this evening as they topped the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in overtime. The Rangers and Sabres traded goals all night long, and K’Andre Miller ended Buffalo once and for all at the 2:02 mark of the overtime period. Alexandar Georgiev didn’t have much work with the Sabres only tossing 17 shots his way, but the Sabres were continuously resilient around the net.
Frank Vatrano (13) - Chris Kreider (18) - 3:59
Frankie scored two times in 18 seconds.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 27, 2022
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/0FUVqGX7bE
Quick starts have become a trend for the Rangers, and they got started early again to jump out to a 1-0 lead against the Sabres. New York was able to transition a faceoff loss in their own zone into a partial 2-on-1 rush the other way. Chris Kreider carried the puck through the neutral zone with speed, and found Frank Vatrano off to his right just before the red line. Henri Jokiharju made an ill-advised pinch which left the right side of the ice open, and Vatrano took advantage with his speed. Vatrano fooled Craig Anderson with his eyes by looking off the pass to Kreider, and ripped home his 13th of the season on the blocker side.
Frank Vatrano (14) - Unassisted - 4:17
Just 18 seconds after tallying the opening goal, Frankie V did it again by picking up his second goal of the evening. Tage Thompson was the culprit this time around as he whiffed on an intended outlet pass and put the puck right on the tape of Frank Vatrano. Vatrano picked up the puck cleanly and bolted through the middle of the ice to create a breakaway for himself. Vatrano made a quick head fake and snapped the puck under the blocker hand of Craig Anderson to give the Rangers a huge 2-0 lead.
Rasmus Asplund (6) - Mattias Samuelsson (6) & Casey Mittelstadt (7) - 18:12
As well as the Rangers played throughout the opening 18 minutes, the Sabres were able to take back some momentum near the end of the period. After several turnovers in front of their own net, the Rangers were finally able to clear but not far enough to get it out of the zone. The puck was worked over to Mattias Samuelsson at the far left point position, and he found Rasmus Asplund wide open in front of the net. Asplund was able to collect the hard pass from Samuelsson and brought the Sabres back within a goal heading into the first intermission.
Will Butcher (2) - Peyton Krebs (9) & Vinnie Hinostroza (12) - 2:06
Will Butcher ties the game. pic.twitter.com/ahwZMZFME7— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) March 27, 2022
The goal at the end of the first period proved to be a crucial turning point as the Sabres came out with some life in the second period. Just 2:06 into the period, Will Butcher was able to keep the play alive inside the Rangers’ blue line, and threw a wrist shot towards the goal. The quick shot appeared to surprise Alexandar Georgiev who was fighting off a friendly fire screen in front, and the puck sailed over his blocker hand.
Kyle Okposo (16) - Zemgus Girgensons (6) & Rasmus Dahlin (31) - 6:48
A little over four minutes later, the Sabres completed their comeback and snatched the lead right out from under the Rangers. Kyle Okposo was able to generate some speed through the neutral zone, and beat the Rangers down the left side of the ice. Adam Fox stepped over to make a play, but Okposo had way too much momentum and slipped right around on the outside. Alexandar Georgiev appeared to brace for impact as Okposo came in on goal, and wound up moving out of the way as the puck slid underneath him.
Alexis Lafrenière (15) - Filip Chytil (12) & Jonny Brodzinski (1) - 11:46
The Rangers needed some sort of life after coughing up the lead, and Alexis Lafrenière delivered with his 15th goal of the season. Jonny Brodzinski started the play after forcing a turnover, and led a 3-on-2 rush into the offensive zone. Brodzinski was able to find Filip Chytil cutting in with speed, which turned the play into a mini 2-on-1 down below the hashmarks. Chytil was able to fight off the oncoming check, and dished a beautiful pass over to Alexis Lafrenière cutting to the net. Lafrenière went back against his momentum after receiving the pass and buried it on his backhand to knot up the game at 3-3.
Artemiy Panarin (17) - Jacob Trouba (23) & Andrew Copp (25) - 3:52
After Alexis Lafrenière tied up the game midway through the second period, the Rangers finally regained the lead early in the third period. Barclay Goodrow was able to win a key offensive zone draw, and Andrew Copp swooped in to collect the loose puck. The puck worked back to Jacob Trouba just inside the blue line, and he ripped a hard, low shot towards Craig Anderson. The rebound kicked right into the high slot where Artemiy Panarin was waiting, and he slammed home the rebound to give New York a 4-3 lead.
Jeff Skinner (27) - Rasmus Dahlin (32) & Casey Mittelstadt (8) PPG - 13:07
The Rangers were doing great work to stay out of the penalty box, but a late penalty crept up on them as Patrik Nemeth was sent off for hi-sticking. Nearly a minute into the penalty kill, the Sabres crashed the front of the net and Jeff Skinner was able to capitalize on a loose puck in front of the net. Alexandar Georgiev was unable to adjust to the shot after losing the puck in the crowd, and Skinner was able to snap shot over his shoulder to tie up the game.
K’Andre Miller (6) - Alexis Lafrenière (10) & Andrew Copp (26) - 2:02
This game needed extra time to be decided, and after the Sabres killed nearly half the clock skating back in their own zone, the Rangers struck. A great defensive play by Andrew Copp led a 3-on-2 rush back into the offensive zone, and he deferred to Alexis Lafrenière off to his right. Lafrenière had the patience to wait for K’Andre Miller entering the zone late, and he hit him with a crisp pass right on the tape. Miller’s man was still only crossing the blue line when he got the puck, and he absolutely wired a wrist shot past Craig Anderson.
This game was certainly more back and forth than the Rangers would have liked, but they came up with the big two points in the net. The new guys continued to shine with Frank Vatrano adding two early goals, and Andrew Copp picking up a pair of assists, including a helper on the game winner. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the Penguins were able to keep pace with an 11-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings, so New York still remains a lone point out of second place.
The Rangers will have a scheduled off on Monday before returning for their second meeting against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday evening.