The New York Rangers finally snapped their four game losing streak as Alexis Lafrenière tallied the overtime winner against the Buffalo Sabres. There was a lot to like about the Rangers game tonight as they dominated on the offensive side of the puck, and finally came out with a win. Igor Shesterkin returned to form tonight after a shaky outing against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and turned in his first win of the season.
Ryan Strome (2) – Artemiy Panarin (5) & Pavel Buchnevich (4) – 9:44
The Rangers came out in this game with some jump to their game, and were rewarded with the opening goal. Ryan Strome capped off a beautiful passing play between Pavel Buchnevich and Artemiy Panarin, and buried his second goal of the season. Buchnevich created the initial chance with a tap pass down low and that generated plenty of space for Panarin to do his thing. Ryan Strome was able to slip down the right side of the ice undetected, and Panarin hit him right on the tape. Linus Ullmark never stood a chance with the quick pass against his momentum, and New York jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
Jack Eichel (2) – Sam Reinhart (3) – 19:38
Despite the Rangers playing one of their better periods of the season, the late goal against struck again as Buffalo tied up the game at 19:38. Following a misread dump into the zone, the Sabres were able to quickly turn the puck back up ice on an odd-man rush. Sam Reinhart found Jack Eichel driving the back post, and Eichel somehow opened up his stick to receive the pass. K’Andre Miller did all he could to prevent the chance, but just couldn’t tie up Eichel’s stick in time prevent the redirection.
Artemiy Panarin (3) – Unassisted – 16:10
Throughout the opening 40 minutes, the Rangers’ zone entries and forecheck were miles better than they have been thus far. Artemiy Panarin was able to finally break the deadlock late in the second period as he sniped a quick shot past Linus Ullmark on the shortside. Ryan Strome was able to draw two defenders to him in front of the net, and as a result, they left Panarin unoccupied in the left faceoff circle.
Sam Reinhart (3) – Taylor Hall (6) & Victor Olofsson (4) – 4:47
It wouldn’t be a third period for the Rangers this season if it didn’t result in some sort of blown lead. A very dangerous hit by Ryan Lindgren on Kyle Okposo resulted in an early Buffalo power play, and they immediately responded with a goal. Sam Reinhart redirected home a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play, and Igor Shesterkin was unable to sprawl over in time to make the save.
Alexis Lafrenière (1) – Colin Blackwell (2) – 2:47
Alexis Lafrenière could’ve scored at at least a hat trick tonight with the amount of quality looks he had in front of the net. After missing on the previous two attempts, the third time was the charm for the 19-year old as David Quinn sent him over the boards in overtime. Colin Blackwell made a great defensive play in the neutral zone to spring a 2-on-1 rush, and none other than Alexis Lafrenière broke down the middle of the ice. Blackwell hit Alexis with a beautiful centering pass and he beat Linus Ullmark after a pump faking his original shot.
It was the perfect ending to a game where you could tell that Lafrenière was more than overdue for his first NHL goal. At the same time, the Rangers can hopefully use this win to build some confidence as they return home to Madison Square Garden after a four-game road trip. The Rangers did give up another tying goal in the third period, but I think their response is what stood out the most. They came right back with a strong offensive shift, didn’t feel sorry for themselves and found a way to close out the game in overtime.
Following tonight’s exciting win, the Rangers will return home for another two-game set against the Pittsburgh Penguins beginning on Saturday night.
Alexis Lafrenière has arrived.