The New York Rangers aren’t playing their best hockey at the moment but the mark of a genuine title contender is about getting the win, not gaining style points.
New York struggled throughout Saturday evening’s contest against Buffalo but was carried to a 2-1 overtime win thanks to the heroics of Artemi Panarin and Igor Shesterkin.
Shesterkin kept the Rangers in the game throughout the contest against a desperate Sabres roster. The reigning Vezina winner tallied 32 saves on 33 shots and continuously robbed Buffalo of prime offensive chances.
Of course, it didn’t completely start out well for Igor and New York. Jeff Skinner found the back of the net to get the scoring started in the second period. Later on, Tyson Jost appeared to score another Sabre goal but was waived off for an offsides penalty.
Nevertheless, New York came back for the second straight night in overtime. To tie the game, the Rangers turned to newly acquired Patrick Kane who scored on a pass that was deflected past Buffalo’s goaltender. Then in overtime, and on the powerplay, Adam Fox’s shot rebounded perfectly to Panarin for the game-winning goal and New York’s second straight win.
The win might not have happened though if not for the Rangers starting goaltender coming up big in key moments throughout the contest and getting major recognition from his coach.
“Late in the [third] period like that of a 1-1 hockey game, to give those chances, it’s not acceptable for our group. A lot of guys in there should be thankful Igor made those saves for them.” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said to Mollie Walker after the win.
Saturday’s win improved the Rangers’ record to 37-19-9 and in a comfortable third place in the Metro division. They will be back on the ice Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
- The comeback win was the 19th for New York this season. It’s the third most comeback wins of any team in the NHL this year.
- Kane’s goal was his second straight game with a score. It was also his seventh goal in his hometown of Buffalo.
- New York welcomed the return of Tyler Motte to the lineup Saturday but still had defenseman Ryan Lindgren ruled out. While Lindgren has been practicing with the team in recent days, the Rangers have consistently looked to get him back to the game slowly with the playoffs around the corner.