New York Rangers survive late scare to beat Sabres and move into first place

ryan strome
Dec 10, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates his goal with center Ryan Strome (16) during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers had bounce back on their minds in Buffalo and appeared to be in cruise control for two periods. Then in the third, the Sabres rushed the Rangers.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 17 of 18 shots in the final stanza to secure the win and take sole possession of first place in the Metro Division.

Recap: Rangers 2 vs Sabres 1

rangers sabres
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts dominated every facet of the opening 20 minutes, but walked away with only one goal. They outshot the Sabres 12-6, out-hit them 9-1, and even won 11 of 15 draws.

At the 4:31 mark, Mark Pysyk was called for tripping Artemi Panarin. It took just 17 seconds for the Rangers red-hot power play to convert.

Panarin was looking to go across the ice to Ryan Strome, but it hit the Sabres defender’s skate. The carom went right to the net where a goal-starved Mika Zibanejad was waiting. He banked it in off of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for his first tally in 14 games. Adam Fox picked up the secondary assist.

The Sabres had a much improved second period outshooting the Rangers 13-10. Alexandar Georgiev stopped them all, including a breakaway save on Zemgus Girgensons.

“It feels good to play,” Georgiev said after the game. “It feels good to win.”

New York would add to their lead with 10:13 to go. Alexis Lafreniére started the play in his own end feeding Filip Chytil up ice. The center then moved it to Fox, who took a purposeful low shot to cause a rebound. That when Lafreniére swooped in and put his first goal in six games behind Luukkonen.

For Fox, that was his 100th career assist, which tied him for second fastest for defensemen in Rangers history. Both he and Brian Leetch did it in their 150th game. Sergei Zubov was the fastest to complete the feat in 127 games.

Rangers survive scare

Buffalo started the third period with a power play thanks to a Ryan Reaves crosscheck late in the middle stanza. Although they didn’t score it generated enough momentum to drive them the entire period.

The Sabres would cut the lead in half with 5:23 left to play thanks to Brett Murray finding a rebound to beat Georgiev. That goal juiced Buffalo up even more as they came even harder at Georgiev.

“We complicated things,” Zibanejad said. “We didn’t play our game – we’re really just happy with the two points.”

Then the Blueshirts averted disaster when the Sabres pressured the defense for a solid 30 seconds that eventually led to the tying goal. First, the refs reviewed the tallyl to make sure it went in and it did. Next it was reviewed for offside and it showed Rasmus Dahlin clearly in the zone before the puck went in, thus disallowing the goal

“We knew right away (it was offside), as soon as they entered the zone our video guys said it was off,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “You really weren’t feeling the pressure when they did score because we knew.”

New York would hold on for the 2-1 victory and move into first place in the division with the Capitals loss to the Penguins tonight.

Notable Rangers

  • Alexandar Georgiev stood tall with 36 saves on 37 shots
  • Adam Fox picked up two assists for 100 in his young career
  • Artemi Panarin’s point streak is now at 4 games (3G – 6A)
  • NYR get a rare win in the dots (53%)
  • NYR PP went 1 for 2
  • NYR PK went 2 for 2

Tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 11): TBD

Next Game: Sunday, Dec. 12 vs. Nashville Predators (7:00 PM ET – TV: MSG)

*Schedule subject to change

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