Rangers explode out of the gate, edge Sabres 3-2 as some “We want Eichel” chants rained down

Mar 2, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) scores a goal against Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton (40) at 28 seconds of the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Three goals were scored in the first 2:36 of the first period – two for the home side, and one for the folks from the road. The New York Rangers used that to their advantage, defeating the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

Rangers vs Sabres: Buchnevich a force

Pavel Buchnevich kicked off a solid night on the Garden stage by breaking the ice only 28 seconds into the contest. Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart evened things up only 27 seconds later on a terrible defensive lapse by the Rangers.

Only moments later, Buchnevich launched a shot towards Carter Hutton, which was deflected by Alexis Lafreniere for the third goal of his rookie campaign. The Blueshirts first overall pick now has points in three straight.

“I was thinking if I keep going and the defenseman bites, I can give it to ‘Laffy’ for an empty-netter, but he followed me and didn’t give me a lane for a shot,” Buchnevich said. “I just created space and then I had almost an empty net. It hit Laffy and scored, 2-1.” 

rangers vs sabres
Bruce Bennett-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The scoring continued around the midway mark of the second period, as Chris Kreider perfectly aimed a long-distanced shot right at the upper part of the net, which went in for a goal that even seemed to surprise himself. Tobias Rieder scored at 16:21 of the second period for the Sabres.

For the Rangers, Igor Shesterkin made 22 saves on 24 shots faced, and even attempted a shot at an empty net at the conclusion of the game. Hutton made 16 saves on 19 shots faced for Buffalo.

“We Want Eichel”

Jack Eichel who has been the biggest name in the trade rumor mill was met with a spattering of “We Want Eichel” by some of the fans in attendance. Eichel did not acknowledge the chant but he most certainly heard them. He did not address the media last night.

RELATED: Realistic trade packages for Eichel

Post Game Notes

  • The Rangers have won four of their last six games, dating back to Feb. 18 at Philadelphia (4-2-0 record over the span).
  • The Rangers have earned a win in the game immediately following each of their last three losses, dating back to their loss on Feb. 16 vs. New Jersey.
  • Pavel Buchnevich tallied two points (one goal, one assist), including the first goal of the game 28 seconds into the contest, drew a penalty, and tied for the game-high (led the Rangers) with four shots on goal. 
  • Chris Kreider registered a goal, and leads the Rangers in goals this season (10).
  • Alexis Lafrenière recorded a goal and posted a plus-one rating in 18:35 of ice time. He extended his point streak to three games (one goal, two assists), and he has also recorded a point in four of the last five games (two goals, two assists).

The Rangers are off today. Their next game is tomorrow at New Jersey (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network).

*Notes courtesy NYR

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