Kreider scores in OT, Rangers beat Sabres 2-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The New York Rangers put on another successful off-Broadway performance.
Chris Kreider scored 3:56 into overtime and the Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Thursday night after consecutive home losses.
Mats Zuccarello scored in regulation and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shot, including two in the extra period, for the Rangers.
”You had everything you needed in a hockey game,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. ”Timely saves and a timely goal in the end.”
J.T. Miller had assists on both goals to help New York get its league-leading 18th road win, including 11 of its last 13. This is the first time in franchise history the Rangers have won 18 of their first 25 road games.
”Obviously you don’t want to stack losses,” Kreider said. ”It speaks to our resiliency. You never want to go on a slide so it’s definitely a positive.”
On the winning goal, Kreider took a pass from Miller and buried a wrist shot from the right circle. It was Kreider’s second career overtime goal and first in a regular season game. He also reached the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season.
Lundqvist bounced back after giving up three goals before getting pulled after 23:38 of Tuesday night’s 6-4 loss to Columbus. He made 10 of his saves on Buffalo power plays, including three on point-blank shots in the third period.
”He made some really good saves when they could’ve went up or tied it,” Miller said. ”We feel great when he’s back there playing like that. I know he knows he can play like that and that’s just another prime example of what he’s done over the last decade.”
One of Lundqvist’s biggest saves came 31 seconds into overtime when he slid across the crease to stop a close-range snap shot from Buffalo leading scorer Kyle Okposo.
”That was a tough save to make and you just feed off that,” Vigneault said.
Buffalo’s Evander Kane hit the post on wrist shot less than a minute later, but the Sabres would not get another scoring chance after that.
”I had him beat,” Kane said. ”But it was a tough, tough, tough loss for some of the things we did out there.”
Cody Franson scored and Robin Lehner stopped a season-high 42 shots for Buffalo, which has lost three straight.
Buffalo had beaten New York in two earlier meetings this season and was trying for its first sweep of the Rangers since the 2006-07 season.
Franson got the tying goal for Buffalo with 5:31 remaining in the third period. Franson gathered a loose puck in the high slot and beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot for his third of the season.
Zuccarello scored his 10th on a power play to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 2:10 left in the second. Positioned in front of the net, Zuccarello lifted his stick to deflect Ryan McDonagh’s slap shot from the point. The puck floated over Lehner’s shoulder and bounced in off the crossbar.
New York had scored on just one of its previous 18 power plays before Zuccarello’s goal.
The scoreless first period was full of scoring chances. Lehner made 14 saves and Lundqvist had 12 shots – including four on Buffalo’s two power plays.
NOTES: Sabres D Zach Bogosian left the game late in the first period with a mid-body injury and did not return. … Vigneault coached in his 1,103rd game, passing Billy Reay for 17th on the NHL’s all-time list. … Buffalo placed C Cal O’Reilly on waivers Thursday. Nicolas Deslauriers, a healthy scratch the previous two games, took his place on the fourth line. … Zuccarello has 19 points in his last 18 games and leads the Rangers with 39 points. … The Rangers are 5-1 in games that have been decided after regulation and 3-0 in games that have ended in overtime.
Rangers: Host Calgary on Sunday to open a four-game homestand.
Sabres: Host Ottawa on Saturday.