New York — On a night when the team had a chance to improve their playoff seeding, the New York Rangers couldn’t get past a young and desperate club.
Igor Shesterkin tallied 37 saves while Artemi Panarin scored twice but it wasn’t enough as the Rangers fell to the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout at home Monday night by a 3-2 final.
“Those guys (The Sabres) came out and played really well in the first. After the first, I thought we matched it. Both goalies were really good tonight,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said after the game.
In need of a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, Buffalo jumped out to a first-period lead thanks to JJ Peterka netting his 12th goal of the year. From there though, the Rangers flexed the offensive firepower in the second period that has them viewed as a contender when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. Panarin knotted both scores in the second to jump New York out in front 2-1.
The points moved Panarin to over 90 on the season, making him just the third Ranger to accomplish the feat along with Mark Messier and Jean Ratelle.
“I think once we started moving it quick and getting behind them, we started getting chances off the rush. Their season was on the line and it took us a little bit to match it,” said Adam Fox.
In the final period, Buffalo battled back.
After forcing a K’Andre Miller turnover, Casey Mittelstadt scored on his own rebound to tie the game back up at two late in the final period. In the shootout, Mittlelstadt and Owen Power solved Shesterkin while young netminder Devon Levi stifled the Rangers shooters to secure the win.
Buffalo’s win, coupled with losses by the Islanders and Panthers, kept their postseason dreams alive for another day.
The loss moved the Rangers to 47-21-13 on the season and three points back of matching their 2021-22 season points total of 110. They will conclude the 2022-23 regular season Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Fortunately we’re in a good spot right now, but we’ll see what happens in the standings over the next few days,” Gallant concluded.
- New York came into Monday night’s contest needing to win out and get a little help from other teams to improve their standings in the Metro division. The loss eliminates the Rangers from getting the top overall seed in their division, but they still remain in a position to grab home ice in the first round.
- Ryan Lindgren was honored before the game as the recipient of the 2022-23 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, presented by Northwell. The award is voted on by the fans and given to a player who “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” Living up to his name, Lindgren was hit with a puck before overtime ended but returned for the shootout, which Gallant later touted as “that’s who he is.”
- Panarin wasn’t the only player to reach 90 points this season. Mika Zibanejad recorded an assist on Panarin’s first goal and moved his career-high total to the 90-point threshold. He became the third Rangers center since 1982-83 to record 90 points in a season after Wayne Gretzky and Messier both did so during their times in New York.