New York Rangers fast start fizzles, but beat Sabres on K’Andre Miller OT winner 5-4

new york rangers playoffs
Mar 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (79) celebrates his game winning goal against the Buffalo Sabres in overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers wanted to follow up a dominant performance against the Penguins with a strong start as they hosted the Sabres.

Frankie Vatrano made sure to do his part as the speedy winger came out of the gate flying. Despite his two quick goals early in the first period, the relentless Sabres would not go away until the very end.

Recap: Rangers 5 vs Sabres 4 OT

K’Andre Miller scored at 2:02 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 5-4 win against the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

Frank Vatrano scored twice, and Alexandar Georgiev made 13 saves for the Rangers.

Rasmus Dahlin had two assists for the Sabres. Craig Anderson made 26 saves.

Flying Frankie Vatrano scores twice in 18 seconds

Vatrano gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 3:59 of the first period, scoring from the top of the right circle off a 2-on-1.

He doubled the advantage just 18 seconds later, skating in alone on Anderson after picking off Sabres center Tage Thompson’s pass attempt. The quick strikes are the fastest two goals by a Rangers player since Jaromir Jagr tallied twice in 15 seconds on Nov. 12, 2005.

“You see how he can shoot a puck and he can change a game with his speed,” Adam Fox said to MSG’s John Giannone. “He’s obviously a really good player and he’s helped us out so far.”

Rasmus Asplund got the Sabres on the board at 18:12 when Mattias Samuelsson found him open at the right side of the net to narrow it to 2-1 ending the first period.

Ryan Strome suffered a lower-body injury at the end of the first period and did not return. After the game, head coach Gerard Gallant said it was not considered serious.

Lafrenière keeps streak alive

new york rangers
Mar 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafrenière (13) celebrates his goal with defenseman Patrik Nemeth (12) against the Buffalo Sabres during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Will Butcher tied it 2-2 at 2:06 of the second period with a laser from the slot.

Kyle Okposo drove down the left side and cut to the front of the net before slipping it through Georgiev’s pads to put Buffalo ahead 3-2 at 6:48.

Shortly after being denied by Anderson on a breakaway, Alexis Lafrenière took a feed from Filip Chytil on the rush, drove to the net from the left side and slid a backhander by the netminder at 11:46 to tie the score at 3.

Artemi Panarin put the Rangers back in front 4-3 at 3:52 of the third period. Anderson made a pad save on a point shot by Jacob Trouba and the rebound bounced to Panarin at the bottom of the right circle. The play was started by Andrew Copp, who found a loose puck off the draw.

“I’m a center that can play winger,” Copp said on the MSG postgame. “But today I was a better at wing than I was at center. When you have something that’s working, don’t break that up.”

Jeff Skinner tied it 4-4 on the power play from in front of the net at 13:07 which set up the extra session drama.

K’Andre Miller wins it in OT

In OT, the Sabres were almost trying to play keep away as they would reset whenever they got possession.

It was on such a play where they were burned. Attempting a home run pass, K’Andre Miller broke it up to send the play down the other way. Copp and Lafrenière played catch with the puck before Miller came streaking down the middle late. Once he got on his stick, Miller went top shelf over Anderson for the win.

“They tried to get one up quick and I got a stick on it luckily,” Miller said about the defensive play to start his OT goal. “Copper handed it over to Laffy, and Laffy found me walking down Main Street. It was good.”

The effort probably wasn’t what the Rangers head coach was looking for, but he’ll take the two points.

“It was one of those games where we came out great but then we just fell off,” Gallant said. “We found a way I guess.”

Notable Rangers

  • Alexandar Georgiev only made 13 saves on 17 shots
  • Frank Vatrano scored 2 goals which gives him 4 goals in 6 games
  • Andrew Copp picked up 2 assists which gives him 1G – 4A in 3 games
  • Alexis Lafrenière extends his point steak to 6 games (2G – 5A)
  • K’Andre Miller recorded his first career OT goal

Tomorrow (Monday, March 28): No Practice

Next Game: Tuesday, March 29 at Pittsburgh Penguins (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG)

*Schedule subject to change

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-Field Level Media contributed to this report.