The Buffalo Sabres are back in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference as they defeated the New York Rangers 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. Along with the Washington Capitals losing to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in overtime and the Montreal Canadiens defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-1, the Sabres in a tie with the Capitals for eighth spot and two points behind the Ottawa Senators who are in seventh.
The Sabres got off to a slow start in New York, much like they did against the Canadiens on Wednesday night as well. It took Buffalo eleven minutes to register their first shot in the game and Ryan Miller had to make some solid saves to keep the Sabres in it early. After the Sabres registered their first shot on goal though, they started to pour it on net in the first period and Henrik Lundqvist stood up to the challenge as well. Lundqvist quite possibly made the save of the year against Drew Stafford late in the first period:
No matter what Sam Rosen says in the highlight, the puck actually went off Lundqvist's toe before it crossed the line. The Sabres ended up outshooting the Sabres 8-6 in the period and both teams went into the locker room trying to figure out how to beat these goaltenders.
In the second period, the Sabres got on the board first as Travis Turnbull scored his first NHL goal off the skate of Rangers forward John Mitchell. Turnbull is the sixth different player to score their first NHL goal for the Sabres this season and the 29th different player to score for the Sabres this season. Only Cody McCormick, Derek Whitmore, Colin Stuart, and Joe Finley are players that have suited up for the Sabres this season and not registered at least one goal.
The Rangers would tie the game six minutes later in the second period after Brian Boyle found himself all alone in front of the net with the puck. That lead wouldn't last long though as Drew Stafford scored his first of two goals on the night four minutes later:
The Sabres would go into the second period with a 2-1 lead and a 21-14 advantage in shots on goal.
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The third period would feature the biggest swing of momentum the game had experienced. The Rangers kept the Sabres on their heels for most of the period, which would lead to a 13-5 differential in shots on goal after the period was over. At roughly the 12 minute mark of the third period, the Rangers had their best chance when Christian Ehrhoff turned the puck over to Marion Gaborik who had a wide open net, but missed when Ehrhoff recovered and kept his skate tucked against the post. The Sabres recovered and were able to generate a two on one chance with Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis, where Ennis was able to bury the puck for his 12th goal of the season:
Drew Stafford would score his second goal of the night two minutes later on a three on one rush that featured, you guessed it, Tyler Ennis. Stafford scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season and very quietly could be on his way to his third career 20 goal season.
Overall, Ryan Miller made 26 saves for the winning effort and now has won his third straight game and helped the Sabres get points in their last eight games. The last regulation loss Ryan Miller suffered was the 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on March 5th. Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on 27 shots, the first time he has allowed four goals since March 2nd in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Buffalo Sabres will head home to take on the Minnesota Wild and have a chance to take sole possession of eighth place due to the Capitals inactivity. The Ottawa Senators also play on Saturday night as they face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home.