The New York Rangers’ first regular season game against the Buffalo Sabres concluded on Thursday night. The Blueshirts beat the Sabres 5–1. There were many players that impressed, but three players truly stood out from the bunch.
Alexis Lafreniere nets the first goal of the season
This season is a make-or-break year for Alexis Lafreniere, and he needs to impress to solidify his role with the team in the long term. Well, tonight, he got his season off to the right start with a strong performance.
He put the Rangers in the right spot by scoring the first goal of the season for the New York Rangers. It was a beautiful shot, and kudos to Artemi Panarin, who made a great assist and pass to Lafreniere to score the goal. Lafreniere had some nice shots in this game. Hopefully, he keeps this up and continues to shine.
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Mika Zibanejad distributes the puck
While Mika Zibanejad didn’t score a goal in this game, he played a crucial role in creating opportunities for others. Zibanejad contributed with three key assists in this game and dominated by winning eight faceoffs. His performance was even more remarkable as he made history in season-opening games.
When your performance puts you in the franchise record books, that is a clear standout. Especially with now being above New York Ranger legends like Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert, and Walt Tkaczuk.
Longest-tenured Rangers player stands out
No brainer on who gets the top spot for being a standout in this game. Chris Kreider was dominant in this game as he scored two goals in the matchup. One of them was on the powerplay and the other one was when the Rangers were shorthanded. It is impressive how Kreider is such a strong contributor when the Rangers are short-handed. In fact, he even has the most combined short-handed goals since the 2021/22 NHL Season.
Kreider even had an assist as well in this matchup, which adds to his standing out in this game against the Buffalo Sabres. Hopefully, Kreider keeps contributing to this team the entire 2023/24 NHL Season.