NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 25: Andrej Sekera #44 of the Buffalo Sabres battles with Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers and Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
After three periods of solid defensive hockey and two lovely goals from Drew Stafford, the Buffalo Sabres couldn't keep Rochester native Ryan Callahan from scoring the game winning goal in overtime as they fell to the New York Rangers by a final of 3-2.
Before we get into the highlights, let's take a moment to thank Ryan Miller, who kept Buffalo in the game with big save after big save. Miller shone in the first period, putting the Sabres on his back once again as they were outshot 14-6. Miller is playing lights out right now, and it needs to continue if the Sabres are to have any chance of finding the postseason.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled recap: right off the opening faceoff, Paul Gaustad and Bandon Prust decided to drop the gloves and go at it. The line of Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta clearly hadn't worked through their issues from the last time these two teams met, and were chippy with the Rangers all night,
Tthe Sabres took the lead in the first period thanks to some excellent hustle during a 4-on-4 from Tyler Ennis who outraced Marc Staal and fed the puck right through the crease to a waiting Drew Stafford. The Leino-Ennis-Stafford line was the only line that was clicking offensively tonight, and it was nice to see Staffy bury some chances for once - he also hit the post in this period.
The second period saw the Rangers tie the game when the puck took a funny hop and rode up Miller stick, bounced off his blocker, and went through his legs into the goal. Just like Carl Hagelin drew it up. There were only 12 total shots in the period, and both teams took a 1-1 tie into the third.
Buffalo had a power play to start the third period, but they decided to shake things up this time by actually scoring - Drew Stafford put away his second of the game thanks to a pretty pass from Thomas Vanek that found him walking in alone on Lundqvist, and Stafford shot the puck so hard it blew off a strap on King Henrik's pads. Unfortunately, five minutes later the Sabres forgot to cover this "Gaborik" fellow, whoever he is, and he tied the game up with an absolutely unstoppable backhand.
The OT period was sloppy for the Sabres despite killing off a penalty, and they got burned for the game winner when a Sekera shot went wide, and the Rangers capitalized on having Patrick Kaleta in a defensive role by sending Ryan Callahan out to take him to school. Game over.
With the loser point the Sabres are still six back of eighth pace Winnipeg, though they do have two games in hand. Three out of four points against Boston and New York ain't bad, but it's tough not to feel that the Sabres let a crucial point slip away here. The team's road trip swings out west when they face Anaheim on Wednesday.