J.T. Miller New York Rangers Winter Classic
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Rangers found a way to edge the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 NHL Winter Classic on a J.T. Miller overtime goal. 

  • New York Rangers 3 (21-13-5, 47 points)
  • Buffalo Sabres 2 (10-20-9, 29 points)
  • NYR Goals: Paul Carey (5), Michael Grabner (18), J.T. Miller (8)
  • BUF Goals: Sam Reinhart (6), Rasmus Ristolainen (2)
  • NHL, Final (OT), Boxscore
  • Citi Field, Queens, NY

There is no greater in-season event in all of sports than the NHL Winter Classic, a game that takes its usual indoor feel and brings it outdoors.

It makes grown men and even senior citizens feel like youngsters again and fortunately for everybody, the 2018 version was a classic.

Courtesy of J.T. Miller’s power-play overtime goal, the New York Rangers edged the Buffalo Sabres by the final of 3-2 at Citi Field on New Year’s Day.

The Rangers and Sabres were both taking part in their second Winter Classic and for the Rangers, this is their fourth outdoor in seven years. With these outdoor games, it is always interesting to see how both teams come out at puck drop and for the Rangers it was a good start.

After failing to score on an early power-play, the Rangers fourth line came up big once again with Paul Carey putting the Blueshirts on the board.

With these outdoor games, sometimes the elements might affect a players game and they might perform differently then if they were indoors, not Kevin Hayes. Hayes showed his playmaking skills to set up Michael Grabner for Grabner’s 18th goal of the season.

In the second, the Rangers continued to be aggressive, but Sabres’ goalie Robin Lehner settled in and kept Buffalo in the game through two periods.

Towards the end of the first period the Rangers took a couple of bad penalties, that trend continued in the second. This time, however, they couldn’t kill the penalty and Sam Reinhart would bring the Sabres to within one.

In the third, Buffalo continued to outwork the Rangers and it paid off early as the Rangers were unable to clear the puck from the defensive zone leading to the game-tying goal from Rasmus Ristolainen.

With the game tied both Henrik Lundqvist and Robin Lehner had to be on top of their game to force this one to go to overtime.

In overtime, both teams had chances early and both goaltenders continued to play well and then the Rangers were given a golden opportunity with a four-on-three power-play and a chance to win it.

Kevin Shattenkirk was able to generate a shot on goal that Lehner couldn’t control leaving a nice rebound for J.T. Miller who would win it for the Rangers.

With the win, the Rangers have now improved to 4-0-0 in outdoor games.

Tomorrow, the Rangers will regroup as they prepare for an original six matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Garden.

Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.