Score: Sabres 3 | Rangers 6
Shots: BUF 34 | NYR 29
Sabres Goals: Jeff Skinner (6), Victor Olofsson (13-PP), Sam Reinhart (21)
Rangers Goals: Mika Zibanejad (17, 18-PP, 19), Kaapo Kakko (7, 8-PP)
Minus 1 | Zibanejad and Kakko Dominate
Mika Zibanejad is no stranger to hat tricks and, to the Sabres’ detriment, tonight was no exception. The center recorded his seventh career hat trick and his third of the season. The Rangers’ three-goal cushion would remain until late in the second period, but it would matter not for the Sabres. Zibanejad has 13 goals since March 13 - the most in the league.
In between all of Zibanejad’s goals, Kaapo Kakko also delivered on the offense for New York. Kakko’s first goal beat Dustin Tokarski on the short side and his second came off of a rebound right in front of the crease.
Minus 2 | Defense
As many know, the Sabres are a very young team with some bright spots of talent. And, while Rasmus Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju have drastically improved over the last month, the team still struggles defensively. Tonight, Buffalo should have been more physical in front of Tokarski (who, if we are being honest, struggled and probably should have been pulled) and provided more coverage around the likes of Zibanejad and Kakko.
Though the effort was there, the Sabres were never able to tie or take the lead from a New York team that simply could not be caught. The Sabres are 1-25-1 when trailing after the second period.
Plus 1 | Sam’s Hot Streak
Following a shot fired off of the post, Sam Reinhart found the back of the net halfway through the third period after a beautiful pass from Rasmus Dahlin. The pass came across the top of the faceoff circles and gave the Sabres hope in the final minutes of the game. He also tallied an assist earlier in the game on the Olofsson goal.
In his last two games, Reinhart has five points and, if this were a regular 82-game season, he would be on pace for 37 goals. His production - especially as of late - also not only proves his ability to play center but play center very well.
Buffalo will be back at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday for their rematch against the Rangers. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.