NEW YORK, N.Y. (Oct. 31, 2013) – On Thursday, the New York Rangers certainly weren’t ringing any doorbells, and shouting “Trick or Treat”. Instead, the Blueshirts satisfied their Halloween sweet tooth with a 2-0 shutout of the Buffalo Sabres in an Eastern Conference match-up at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. The victory was the Rangers’ second straight, and first at home this year.
Buffalo had the early chances in the opening period, attempting three shots in the first 2:29, before New York turned the tide, and outshot their opposition 19-3 for the remainder of the stanza.
The Blueshirts also picked up their first goal of the year at home in the process. After Tyler Myers went off for tripping Derek Stepan with 12:35 left, the Rangers made it hurt in the final seconds of the man advantage.
Derick Brassard, with two seconds left on the power play, ripped a shot through traffic, and past Ryan Miller to give New York an early 1-0 lead. The tally was their third with the extra man in the last two games (two power play goals vs. Islanders on Tuesday).
In the second period, the Rangers overcame another sluggish start, much like the first, but came away with another goal to double their advantage at the intermission. At the 11:21 mark, Chris Kreider put back a Mats Zuccarello rebound in the top-right 90, which originated off a 3-on-2 odd-man rush.
“I think it was the back end of a shift, so I was a little gassed,” Kreider commented. “I saw Zucc (Zuccarello), and tried to make a pass to him. He got a great shot, and all I saw was (Ryan) Miller…I have tried to make that play before, but I think that’s the first time it ever worked.”
Seconds later, New York’s Vezina winner from 2011-12, Henrik Lundqvist, made a swift kick save on a shot from the slot by Zemgus Girgensons. He would later stop a flurry of shots from in front by the Buffalo forwards, including a tough wrister off the stick of a trailing Jamie McBain.
The third period proved to be quite uneventful, despite Miller being pulled for the extra skater in the waning minutes. The Rangers took eight shots to Buffalo’s 11, but neither squad got on the board.
“It was a good feeling to get a win,” said Lundqvist. “We played so well. For me, personally, the first half was not really a tough one, but they (the Sabres) came stronger in the second half. It feels good to be part of a win here, and help the team get points…We are moving in the right direction.”
“I think our game has been getting better at both ends of the rink, defensively and offensively,” stated Head Coach Alain Vigneault added. “We are doing a lot of the things you have to do to put some good performances together. That’s what we did tonight.”
For the contest, the Blueshirts owned a commanding 46-29 edge in shots. They also won 30-of-59 faceoffs, and took away seven pucks to the Sabres’ three.
Between the pipes, Lundqvist finished with 29 saves, and collected his first shutout of the season. On the other hand, Miller stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced.
Vigneault and the Rangers continue their four-game homestand Saturday (Nov. 2), when they face the Carolina Hurricanes in a Metropolitan Division tilt. The puck drops from MSG at 7 p.m.