For the third straight game the Buffalo Sabres raced out to a three-goal lead, but in the face of a fierce forecheck and some dodgy refereeing, they were able to repel the New York Rangers and go on to win 4-3 at the Madison Square Garden.
The first two goals came from Ryan O'Reilly who had a first period brace - a tidy finish after some solid forechecking, and then Jack Eichel blowing the gates off the Rangers defence to set up a tap-in. Then in the second period first Zemgus Girgensons scored off his own rebound and Matt Moulson also scored from a similar situation. Chad Johnson made some stunning saves, and the team as a whole killed off a two-minute 5-on-3 late in the game for the win.
O'Reilly was the game's first star, with Eichel the second star. Your votes matched that thinking, with Eichel just narrowly ahead of Chad Johnson.
#1 - Ryan O'Reilly, rating 4.7
ROR became the Sabres' fourth 20-goal scorer of the season with a pair of well-taken goals in 18:21 of ice time. It is good to see him finally break his goal drought and lead from the front again. That should silence any doubters whether his position on the top line was merited.
#2 - Jack Eichel, rating 4.1
The phenomenon continues to find ways to wow the fans. His assist for ROR's second goal was nothing less than amazing. In the meantime he continues to contribute on all sides of the ice, with hits and takeaways. Eichel played 16:27 against the Rangers.
#3 - Chad Johnson, rating 4.1
Johnson made 33 saves, and is staking a solid claim for the backup role in Buffalo, if not more. It'll be interesting to see if Tim Murray decides to extend the player at the end of the season or not.
Image courtesy of Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo stayed back in the Tri-state area as they take on the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.