The New York Rangers scored twice in the first two-and-half minutes of the first period and held off the Buffalo Sabres for a 3-2 victory. Pavel Buchnevich and Alexis Lafreniere recorded the first two goals, with Chris Kreider adding the game winner in the second period.
The Rangers continue their season-long trend of close games. Thirteen of the Rangers’ last 17 games, and 13 of the team’s 19 games this season, have been decided by two or fewer goals, and 10 of those contests have been decided by one goal.
Chris Kreider scores the game winning goal for the New York Rangers
Kreider‘s tenth goal of the season turned out to be the game winning goal for the Rangers, putting them up 3-1. The Sabres were able to close the gap with a Tobias Reider goal but could come no closer. Kreider has recorded a goal/point in four of the last five games. He is one of four NHL players who have registered at least nine goals and 40 hits this season.
Adam Fox had two assists in the game, including Kreider’s game winner. Fox also continues to be a bit of an ironman for the Blueshirts, especially since the absence of Jacob Trouba. He has led the Rangers in ice time in each of the last 10 games, and he ranks 12th in the NHL in average ice time this season (24:53).
After the game, Fox talked about the solid defensive effort the Rangers had, especially in the third period. “They were in our zone but didn’t have too many grade A chances. And when they did, Shesty came up big.”
Igor Shesterkin made some critical saves for the New York Rangers
Shesterkin recorded 22 saves in the win with just five in the third period, However, many of his saves were on plays in which the Sabres had an excellent chance to slam the puck in the back of the net.
The Rangers defense and goaltending continue to do well in recent games. They have held their opponents to two goals or fewer in seven of the last 11 games (including two goals or fewer in regulation in eight games) and in eight of the last 13 games. The Blueshirts have allowed 2.68 goals against per game in 2020-21, which is the ninth-fewest in the NHL.
After the game in his Zoom Conference, Shesterkin said through his translator: “In the first period, it wasn’t a great thing when the first shot went in but the guys rallied and helped me out and we took care of business the rest of the game.”
The Rangers now embark on a six game road trip, starting Thursday with the New Jersey Devils.