The New York Rangers played the Buffalo Sabers last night for the first since their meeting in the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The Rangers got a record-setting performance from goalie Henrik Lundvist only two days before the contest against Buffalo, so they were hoping to ride the momentum created by the historic moment to a long winning streak. The jam-packed crowd at Madison Square Garden got to see the home team pull off a 4-3 win over their bitter rivals in one of the best games of the year.
Rick Nash was supposed to be one of the top goal scorers for the Rangers, but he has struggled with his shot for most of the season. After changing lines earlier this week, it finally looks like Nash is ready to contribute to the team. He followed up his two-goal game two days ago with a goal against the Sabers in the second minute of the game. The Sabers tied the game with a power play goal by Kyle Okposo late in the opening period after a bad tripping penalty by Brendan Smith.
The game got a little heated in the second period. Each team had three penalties in the period, but the power play units were unable to get any goals. J.T Miller briefly gave the Rangers the lead before Buffalo tied the game with a goal from Justin Falk. Rick Nash continued his excellent play with another goal halfway through the third period. Buffalo capitalized on another Brendan Smith penalty with a power play goal by Rasmus Ristolainen.
New York did not get discouraged after relinquishing the lead for a third time. It only took them one minute to regain the lead for good with a goal by Pavel Buchnevich. Buffalo had several chances to tie the game in the final minute, but Henrik Lundqvist did a great job of sealing the victory.
This was a much-need win for the Rangers. They are barely holding on to one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, so they can’t afford to lose games against the worst team in the league. The win over Buffalo gives the Rangers a three-point cushion over the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers for the last playoff spot. New York will look to continue their short winning streak when they travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche on Saturday, January 20.