Skinner Scores as Sabres Fall to Rangers in Overtime

Skinner & Kane had goals in regulation; Panarin wins it in overtime.

Score: Sabres - 1 | Rangers - 2 (OT)

Shots: BUF - 33 | NYR - 25

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Jeff Skinner (29)

New York Rangers Goals: Patrick Kane (18), Artemi Panarin (20)

Plus/Minus 1: A Rocky-ish Start, A Good Recovery

The Sabres started Saturday’s game looking pretty flat, as the Rangers dominated the opening ~half of the first period. New York pressured Buffalo into several mistakes, but the good news for the Sabres is that it didn’t result in any goals early on.

Things started to improve for Buffalo as the first period went on, and the second half was much better than the first - even if the Sabres yet again had to contend with some questionable officiating. JJ Peterka caught a blatant high stick, with no call on the play. Peterka appeared to go off for repairs but did return quickly.

In other near-miss injury news, Mattias Samuelsson also appeared bothered by injury a few minutes later and came off the ice, but returned soon after. Something to keep an eye on, for sure.

Plus-1: Scoring First

The Sabres came into Saturday’s game with a 22-6-1 record when scoring first, while the Rangers were 12-14-5 when their opponent scores first. Obviously, getting that all-important first goal isn’t a do-or-die situation, but it certainly puts your team in a better position.

Jeff Skinner picked up a great pass from Ilya Lyubushkin on the backend to open the scoring 7:52 into the second period. Skinner is now one shy of the 30-goal mark, and just 11 goals back from his single-season career high (40, 2018-19).

Meanwhile, can we talk about Ilya Lyubushkin? That’s his 11th assist of the season, and he’s now on a two-game point streak. He’s already set a new career-high in assists and points. All that’s missing is a goal on home ice so fans can be treated to the glorious Gummy Bear goal song.

Patrick Kane tied the game about three and a half minutes later, his first appearance in his hometown of Buffalo as a member of the Rangers organization.

Minus-1: A Loss is a Loss is a Loss

The Sabres came out of Saturday’s game with a point, but in the end - it’s another loss, now the fourth in a row. While Buffalo isn't out of the playoff picture by any stretch of the imagination, their chances do get marginally smaller with each loss. (It doesn’t help that the Penguins won earlier on Saturday, too.)

Something’s got to give to snap the Sabres out of their current funk, and their upcoming three-game roadstand might be just the ticket they need. The Sabres are 19-10-2 on the road this season, and there’s a big six points up for grabs over the coming week.

Final Thoughts

Saturday’s game was a million percent improvement over the last game against the Stars, but... that’s not saying much, obviously. One point is fine, but two points is what they really needed to get out of this one and it stings not grabbing both.

The Sabres’ roadstead starts in Toronto on Tuesday night, a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.