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Rangers Squeeze Past Sabres 2-1 in Buffalo

Luukkonen was solid, but a late Sabres push falls short.

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Score: BUF 1 | NYR 2

Shots: Sabres 37 | Rangers 31

Buffalo Sabres Goals: B. Murray (2)

New York Rangers Goals: M. Zibanejad (5), A. Lafreniere (6)

Plus +1: UPL Delivers

Despite the loss, 3rd star of the game, goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played outstanding tonight. UPL made 29 saves on 31 shots in a game where the Rangers dominated early. UPL kept Buffalo in the contest with some spectacular saves including a point-blank blocker save on LW Chris Kreider that kept the game at 2-0 in the second period.

Plus +2: Brett Murray Scores a Very “Murray Goal”

The lone Sabres tally came on big winger Brett Murray’s second career goal. It was “vintage Murray” who has been a strong net-front presence since being called up from Rochester. Late in the third period, Murray chipped in his own rebound after receiving a nice feed from D Mark Pysyk. Murray now has 4 points in 8 games this season.

Minus -1: Dahlin Offsides on the Game-Tying Goal

Buffalo fans were dealt a tough hand tonight as Victor Olofsson appeared to tie the game during the last minute of play. Olofsson’s shot ricocheted awkwardly off of Rangers defensemen Patrik Nemeth before bouncing into and out of the net. The subsequent replay clearly showed the puck crossing the goal line, but as fans rejoiced, the referee ominously announced the play was also under review for a potential offsides. Unfortunately for the Sabres, another replay showed defenseman Rasmus Dahlin crossing the blue line early on the rush leading up to Olofsson’s goal, and that was enough to undo the brief 2-2 tie.

Best Game Thread Comment:

“Will the Sabres score a goal?” - Jedi13

“The rest of the season or this game?” - sephkun

It was a fair Q&A after the Sabres went 5 straight periods without a goal, before Murray ended the drought in the third.

Final Thoughts & Notes:

  • UPL has let up only 4 goals in 2 games but has a 0-2 record to show for it. Despite the 2 losses, the young Finnish netminder has clearly earned more starts moving forward, especially given tonight's stellar effort against a very talented Rangers team.
  • Buffalo tossed the kitchen sink at the Rangers netminder, Alexander Georgiev, in the third period, outshooting the Blueshirts 18-7 in the last frame. For his part, Georgiev stymied the Sabres, especially late, to keep the Rangers in the lead.
  • Props to LW John Hayden for challenging Rangers winger Barclay Goodrow to an early tussle. The fight didn’t amount to much but for a player coming off of a 3 game scratching, and the Sabres coming off of a shutout loss, I appreciated the sentiment.
  • Next up: a Saturday night showdown with the Washington Capitals (16-5-6) in Buffalo.