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Sabres Get a Point in Regulation, Rangers Win Garden Rematch

Dec 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save on Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (37) during overtime period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo ties the game twice but can’t close it out in OT.

Score: Sabres 3, Rangers 4 (OT)

Shots: BUF: 30 NYR: 33

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Rasmus Dahlin (10), Jack Quinn (2), Casey Mittelstadt (9)

New York Rangers Goals: Ryan Lindgren (2), Artemi Panarin (18), Mika Zibanejad (13), Chris Kreider (17 OT)

Plus 1: Dahlin Puts the Sabres on the Board

The New York Rangers dominated the opening period, outshooting the Sabres 13 to 9 and putting Buffalo in a 2-0 hole. Ryan Lindgren scored first 7:19 into the game and Artemi Panarin added to the lead on a New York power play with 4:27 left.

Thankfully for beleaguered Blue and Gold fans, Rasmus Dahlin answered back about a minute after Panarin’s PP snap shot. No. 26’s 10th goal this season put the Blue Shirts on notice that the Sabres wouldn’t make this contest an easy one. The veteran D-man scored one goal in each of his last three matchups. Keep ‘em coming, Dahls.

Plus 2: Quinn Ties it at Two

The Sabres didn’t sit back and wait for the Rangers to step up the pressure and widen their lead in the second. Jack Quinn beat New York goalie Igor Shesterkin with a wrister just 1:42 into the period to even the score.

The forward, who spent a long stint on IR, made a goal against the Leafs and now one on the Blue Shirts. Last year, No. 22 had 14 goals. He’s got some catching up to do the rest of this season but fans would love to see him do it.

Plus 3: Mitts Evens it Again

Some five and a half minutes after Quinn’s wrist shot, Mika Zibanejad beat UPL with a backhander to put the Rangers in the lead once more. However, with 6:50 to go, Casey Mittelstadt tied the score one again on a tip-in and an assist from Jordan Greenway.

Mitt’s ninth goal of 2023-24 ensured Buffalo would head home with a least one point. Quiet since the Sabres’ victory over Vegas, where he had two goals, the team needs him to step up offensive production going forward.

Minus 1: Bad Officiating Against the Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres have been on the receiving end of biased, blatant and bad calls by on-ice referees and NHL higher-ups since No Goal in 1999. Tonight’s contest was sadly no different.

Midway through the second period, Rangers’ forward Will Cuylle hit Sabres’ defenseman Ryan Johnson from behind into the boards. Cuylle left his feet while hitting Johnson, causing him to fall. NHL rules call this clipping and Cuylle should have been penalized for the hit. However, he wasn’t.

Fellow defenseman Erik Johnson took matters into his own hands, dropping the gloves with Cuylle. Cuylle and Johnson were both penalized five minutes for fighting, but the refs gave Johnson an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 10-minute misconduct and an ejection from the game. Jeff Skinner complained too loudly about it all and got 10 minutes.

SabresFanSince70 had the Comment of the Game: “So NY hits a player from behind into the boards while leaving his feet. The result is: Buffalo gets a player ejected from the game and has a forward out for 10 minutes. Sounds fair.”

Buffalo head coach Don Granato and Skinner dropped enough f-bombs to blow up a bank vault, which they had every right to express. Fans are tired of seeing the NHL selectively enforce the rules and it seems like there’s no end in sight to the one-sided officiating.

Final Thoughts

The Buffalo Sabres fought a tough opponent, tying the game twice and unfortunately falling short in overtime. The Rangers won their Madison Square Garden rematch, last losing to the Blue and Gold on Nov. 27.

While it was an tough loss, Buffalo did walk away with a point and played aggressive hockey for much of the night. While we all wanted them to get two, the team did show some discipline and made it a contest. After beating the Leafs and forcing the Rangers to OT, the guys need to keep this up against their next opponent.

Speaking of, the Sabres host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. at KeyBank Center.

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