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Devon in Hockey Heaven as Sabres Beat Rangers in OT

Score: Sabres 3, Rangers 2 (OT)

Shots: BUF 34, NYR 33

Buffalo Sabres Goals: JJ Peterka (11), Jordan Greenway (4), Jeff Skinner (32)

New York Rangers Goals: Kaapo Kakko (15), Adam Fox (12)

Plus 1: Peterka Puts One in First

The Sabres turned on the offensive pressure from the start, outshooting the Rangers throughout the first period and getting multiple scoring chances. Midway through the first, JJ Peterka beat New York goalie Jaroslav Halak with a wrist shot to open the scoring for Buffalo.

Peterka’s 11th goal this season is his second in two games. No. 77 has definitely increased his offensive production. Last year, he failed to get any goals at all. While not a top scorer like Thompson, Tuch or Skinner, Peterka’s doing his part to help the team out with points and wins.

Plus 2: Greenway Gets on the Board

7:39 into the second, Jordan Greenway made a one-handed goal to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead. The Sabres forward’s second this season is half his current total for 2022-23. No. 12 has been quiet offensively since coming to Buffalo, but now that he’s healthy maybe that’ll finally change.

Plus 3: Skinner Scores OT Winner

After a frustrating third period for the Sabres, who gave up a tying goal and had to kill off a Rangers power play, the game ended in regulation tied at 2. Fans were nervous, judging by the last SO loss to Montreal on Monday night. Thankfully, Jeff Skinner put those jitters to bed, beating Halak with a wrister and a little help from Mittelstadt and Power.

Skinner’s game winning goal was his first since Buffalo’s shutout victory against the New York Islanders on March 25. The veteran hockey sniper gave the Sabres a crucial two points and a much-needed home ice win.

Plus 4: Levi Top Form in Debut

Lumberjacks87 had the Comment of the Game: “Should have offered Levi a contract two months ago. The team defense is noticeably better.” Buffalo’s D stepped up, while Sabres goaltender Devon Levi was outstanding in his NHL debut, stopping 31 of 33 shots and helping Buffalo beat the Rangers for the first time since April 3, 2021.

The young goalie put on a stellar performance, reading opposing players and looking very confident in net. While it’s only been one matchup, fans are already hopeful No. 27 can be the netminding answer the team’s searched for since Miller and Hasek.

Minus 1: Crass Rangers Fans Ruin National Anthem

Midway through the singing of the U.S. National Anthem before puck drop at KeyBank Center, a group of clearly inebriated Rangers fans began shouting “Go Rangers!” Not content to bellow loudly once, they interrupted the singer’s performance during the rest of the Star Spangled Banner.

These visitors showed a level of boorishness that was totally out of place and disrespectful to men and women who fought for this country over the past 250 years. Even notoriously obnoxious Leafs fans wouldn’t cross that line.

Toronto supporters actually sang the American anthem in TO  recently when the microphone failed during a Sabres-Leafs contest. If Blueshirt fans can’t behave themselves in Buffalo, maybe it’s time to ban them from buying tickets.

Final Thoughts

The Buffalo Sabres showed a strong 60 minutes, playing aggressively in New York’s zone most of the night and shutting down the Rangers’ offensive chances. Buffalo’s D backed up Levi and kept the visitors from getting too many shots on net through the first two periods. New York stepped up the pressure in the third, but Devon and Co. made sure the visitors didn’t get a lead. As much as they enjoyed it, fans want to see their home team play like this every game, not just when Levi suits up.

The Sabres head to Philadelphia next to face the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

Talking Points