It’s Miller Time! JT Scores OT Winner As Rangers Defeat Sabres In The Winter Classic 3-2

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 3-2 OT win against the Sabres at Citi Field.

Paul Carey – Perhaps one of the biggest surprises over the last couple of weeks has been fourth-liner, Paul Carey. The Boston native has been putting in the work on the Blueshirts bottom line, and it paid off in this one. After some good work below the goal line by Boo Nieves, the puck came to Jesper Fast, who returned from injury early to play in the Winter Classic. Fast centered the puck to Carey all alone between the hash marks, and he buried it by Robin Lehner. The goal was Carey’s fifth of the season and he, along with his linemates, earned a lot of ice time as the game was winding down by the way they had played throughout the game.

Michael Grabner – At this point last season, Michael Grabner had fourteen goals, all of which were at even strength, and he’d finish the 2016-17 campaign with 27 markers. This season, the Austrian is already at eighteen goals, all at even strength, scoring number eighteen off a beautiful feed from Kevin Hayes, who will be discussed soon. Grabner’s speed is why he is such a valuable asset for the Blueshirts, but in this game, he made his mark by hanging around the front of the net.

JT Miller – The Rangers needed a power-play goal in the worst way, having scored just six man-advantage goals in 57 attempts since November 15th against the Blackhawks. And this goal came at just the right time. The Blueshirts went on the power-play after Jimmy Vesey was taken down by former New Jersey Devils center Jacob Josefson. Just twenty seconds into the man-advantage, Kevin Shattenkirk snapped one towards Robin Lehner. The goaltender couldn’t control the rebound, and it fell to Miller at the top of the crease and he put the puck into the net for the win. It was just the eighth tally of the year for Miller, and with Kreider out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, #10 is going to have to step his game up even more.

? the J.T. winner from inside the ?! #NYR #WinterClassic #NYRClassic

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On a side note, we could show you the reactions from Rangers fans, but I think this clip from former Rangers center and alternate captain Derek Stepan should do the trick.

Kevin Hayes – When I was watching the game with my family, I said that if Kevin Hayes would start shooting the puck, he could be a good hockey player. And I’ll stand by that. Time and time again we have seen Hayes pass up opportunities to shoot the puck. Instead, he looks to set up his teammates by making an extra pass or by pulling off into the corner while he stickhandles the puck.

Hayes has just seventeen points this season (9G, 8A), and for a player who will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, he is not making a very strong case for Alain Vigneault and/or Jeff Gorton to keep him on Broadway.

Discipline – The Rangers could have easily lost this game had it not been for a strong penalty kill. The Blueshirts killed 4/5 penalties, but the penalties they took were not “good penalties.” It wasn’t the trip or hook to prevent a breakaway, but it was a too many men call, and a couple offensive zone penalties. The Rangers have a strong penalty kill, but they don’t need to take unnecessary penalties to show it off.

As for physical discipline, there were only one or two skirmishes after whistles, but there was this beautiful hit by Brady Skjei on Sam Reinhart. The Blueshirts landed 27 hits in this game and had one of their most physically engaging contests of the season.

Henrik Lundqvist – King Henrik remained perfect in outdoor games, backstopping the Blueshirts with 31 saves against the Western New York natives. Lundqvist didn’t have to make too many difficult stops but came up large against Zemgus Girgensons to keep the game tied in the third.

Henrik improved to 18-9-4 on the season, picking up career win number 423 in this one, which ties him with Blackhawks legend Tony Esposito for eighth all time.

Next Game: The Blueshirts head back indoors on Wednesday night to face the Chicago Blackhawks at MSG. Puck drops at 8!


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