Buffalo was up for another big challenge on Saturday night. Although the Sabres had Ryan Miller in net, the Rangers have had a day off in between games. The Sabres played their third game in four nights.
The prior two games may have come as a shock to many fans. Buffalo played two elite teams: one from each conference. On Wednesday, Buffalo was able to shutout the league’s top scoring team. Then, on Friday, the Sabres held the Blackhawks to just one goal (with backup goaltender Patrick Lalime in net).
Nathan Gerbe was not in the lineup tonight, due to a sore groin. The team called up Mark Mancari for the game. Mike Grier was also out of the lineup due to his mother passing away. He is expected to be back for Monday’s game against Montreal.
As for tonight’s matchup…..it was only one week ago when the Rangers beat the Sabres 2-1. Tonight, Buffalo got revenge. They had Ryan Miller, who is coming off of a shutout, to help them find two points.
The Sabres got on the board first with a goal from Derek Roy, giving Buffalo a crucial first goal on the road. New York would bounce right back, scoring two goals of their own. Ryan Callahan and Marion Gaborik each scored a power play goal less than three minutes apart.
Buffalo didn’t let down. Patrick Kaleta put home a rebound, tying the game at two. There were plenty of shots, but there was no scoring until the third. It was Kaleta again. Kaleta played the puck off the boards, and found himself one on one with Lundqvist, but it was no contest. Kaleta sniped Lundqvist, scoring his second of the night.
It was Kaleta’s first two goal game of his career, as well as his first shorthanded goal. The Rangers were unable to come back after that. The Sabres held on for their third win in a row.
After the game, many of Kaleta’s teammates wanted to know where Kaleta received his inspiration for his two goals.
“Believe it or not, my neighbor, Kawika Mitchell, he plays for the Bills, we talked about celebrations because I’d seen him coming out for the home opener and he’s doing some celebration and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?'” Kaleta explained. “He’s like, ‘Man, you gotta bring it every night.’ I just wanted to give something back to that guy.
“When I score a goal, I don’t know when I’m going to score again or if it’ll ever happen again. I treat it like it’s my last goal.”
The Rangers outshot Buffalo 38-32, but Ryan Miller was solid in net once again.
Buffalo has another busy week ahead of them, with four games in six nights.