The Rangers show perseverance and fight in big win against Buffalo.
Making the playoffs is a long-shot for the New York Rangers, but their excellent play as of late has kept them in the race. The Boston Bruins, the team they’re chasing, losing two in a row has helped them, as well.
They’d look to keep their hopes alive on Tuesday against the worst team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres.
1st period: Lucky
The Rangers came out aggressive- a little too aggressive. The Sabres stood tall in their own zone and had the advantage on the counterattack. As a result, the Rangers found themselves on the receiving end of multiple odd-man rushes.
The defense looked decent and Igor Shesterkin was sharp to begin the game. That’s the sole reason the score was 0-0 heading into the second.
The Rangers were unable to do anything offensively this period and were lucky to have been bailed out by the defense and by their goalie, in particular.
2nd period: Back to square one
Brendan Smith ensured that the second period wouldn’t look anything like the first for the Rangers. He scored an early goal to give his team a 1-0 lead. This was Smith’s fifth goal of the season, which tied for his career-high.
He continues to show off his offensive ability.
Unfortunately, the Rangers weren’t able to carry this lead into the second period. Filip Chytil committed a late penalty that resulted in a Sabres power play goal. Having one of the worst power plays in the league score on one of the best penalty kills isn’t ideal.
3rd period: That’s how it’s done
The third period was the most eventful of the game. Four penalties were committed and the Rangers exerted their offensive dominance to end the game.
Alexis Lafrenière continues to shine. He hit double-digit goals thanks to excellent effort by Ryan Strome along the boards. Ryan Lindgren made a phenomenal defensive play to save a goal immediately before.
Mika Zibanejad sealed the deal for the Rangers on the final power play of the game. The Rangers had had multiple great scoring chances on the man-advantage throughout the period and deserved this goal.
The first period was pretty awful for the Rangers, but they just kept improving as the game went on. This is something that’s key to the development of the players as well as the team.
If something isn’t going right, they must keep working throughout the game to improve without giving up. That’s how the best stay the best.
Key Moment: Big defensive play by Lindgren
The key moment of the game was Lindgren’s fantastic defensive play to save a goal in the second period. He served as great backup to Shesterkin on that play and used his stick to prevent the puck from going in.
This play kept the game tied and prevented the Sabres from taking the lead. Without Lindgren’s play, Lafrenière’s goal doesn’t happen and who knows what would have followed for the Rangers thereafter.
Player of the game: Igor Shesterkin
Shesterkin gets the honor for the first time. He made 36 saves on 37 shots, many of which were huge and came in high-danger situations. His play in the first period alone warrants this distinction. Without it, the Rangers could’ve lost the game.