Alexis Lafreniere’s first NHL goal gives the New York Rangers an OT victory

Jan 14, 2021; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere warms up before the game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

After a silent start to the season, Alexis Lafreniere announced his New York Rangers presence in a big way by scoring the winning goal in overtime as the Blueshirts defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2.

Lafreniere’s goal came after the Sabres’ Jack Eichel turned the puck over in his own zone. Colin Blackwell snagged the loose puck and drove up the right side before flipping a pass through the middle to Lafreniere, who one-timed the puck inside the near post.

In scoring this goal in overtime, Lafrenière became the first Ranger to register his first career NHL goal in overtime since Mats Zuccarello did that on Jan. 5, 2011.

Also, At 19 years 109 days, Lafrenière is the youngest player in NHL history to net an OT-winner for his first career goal. The only other teenager to do that was Cody Ceci (also 19) in 2013.

The win also means that the Rangers finally won a one-goal game after going 0-3-1 in their past four outings.

While wearing the broadway hat in his post-game Zoom conference, Lafreniere said that “Yeah, it’s pretty crazy, in overtime, getting the game-winning goal. It is really special and I will never forget this moment.”

It was a long wait for the first overall pick, who had to wait four months to be drafted first overall and then wait until his seventh game to score his first NHL goal.

A very pleased head coach David Quinn continues to be impressed by Lafreniere. “This guy is a ballsy kid. I don’t care if he is the first pick or the 271st pick, he’s a ballsy kid. He’s a kid you want to be around.”

Artemi Panarin had a goal and also set up Ryan Strome’s goal that started the scoring for the Rangers. This was the 200th NHL game for Panarin.  Since entering the NHL in 2015-16, Panarin ranks third in the league in points (223) and assists (142) on the road, and he only trails Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane in each category.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 shots for his first win of the season.

Next up for the Rangers is a two-game homestand against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and Monday.