New York Rangers collapse as Jack Eichel lifts Buffalo Sabres (Highlights) 2
Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) reacts after scoring a goal during the third period against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. Sabres beat the Rangers 4 to 3. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Eichel’s two-goal third period was the difference as the New York Rangers fell on the road to the Buffalo Sabers.

  • Buffalo Sabers 4 (9-9-5, 23 points)
  • New York Rangers 3 (16-8-1, 33 points)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York

Midway through the third period, it looked as if the New York Rangers were going to cruise to a victory over the Buffalo Sabers at the KeyBank Center. But then, as Joe Micheletti alluded to on tonight’s broadcast, two questionable penalties from Brandon Pirri and Adam Clendening changed the entire flow of this hockey game.

After holding a 3-2 lead for the vast majority of the final period, Jack Eichel netted two goals in his first home game since suffering an ankle injury in early October to propel the Sabres to a 4-3 triumph over the Blueshirts.

The first period was highlighted by a fluky goal 18 seconds into the game by Johan Larsson that came on a shot from Jake McCabe. McCabe fired one from behind the red line (yes, you are reading that correctly) that tipped of off Larsson’s skate and past Lundqvist to open up the scoring.


The Rangers then responded on the power play through Ryan McDonagh. The Blueshirts’ captain wrist end a shot from the left point that beat Sabers’ netminder Anders Nilsson over his right shoulder to even the score at one. Chris Kreider was camped in front of the net, which prevented Nilsson from seeing the puck as it flew past him.

The Rangers later took the lead on the man advantage once again in the second period. Clendening, who was recently added to the lineup in place of Kevin Klein, sent a shot towards the net that was originally stopped by Nilsson. Rick Nash, however, was waiting right in front and backhanded the rebound between the legs of Nilsson for his 11th goal of the year.

Buffalo would come back less than two minutes later and connect on a Brian Gionta goal in front to tie knot the game up at two, but Marc Staal would pick up his second of the year on a perfect feed from Jesper Fast to regain the lead.

The Blueshirts would control this game up until Eichel beat Lundqvist under his right arm on the power play to equalize yet again. The 2015 second overall pick would then produced the game-winner just 1:43 later when he backed in a pass off Mats Zuccarello in front to seal the deal.

This was arguably the toughest loss of the early season for the Rangers. Three of the four goals came off unfortunate bounces while Lundqvist struggled between the pipes. They ultimately had a very good chance to come out triumphant in this game, but Eichel’s heroics prevented that from happening.

The Blueshirts will look to get back on track and maintain their Metropolitan division lead when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the Garden for the second time this week. The puck will drop at 1:00 PM ET.

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