Heading into tonight’s game at the First Niagara Center, the Buffalo Sabres had only won 6 of 28 games on the season.
Once the game began, fans quickly realized that the number would grow to 6 in 29.
Buffalo began the game with forward momentum, which has been a sticking point for this team.
Shortly after Buffalo began with their offensive pressure, the New York Rangers turned the tables and began to take the period over. Even on the Sabres lone power play in the first period, the Rangers seemed to control the play.
Buffalo found themselves getting a few good chances in the first frame, but the problem is that Sabres forwards seem to be find themselves looking for the perfect goal. This causes the forwards to cycle the puck around too much, resulting in no scoring chances.
The Sabres were able to trudge through the first, until Rangers forward Rick Nash showed why he is considered one of the league’s premier goalscorers.
At 17:47, Nash skated into the Sabres defensive zone on the left side, heading towards the net. Whether Tyler Myers got tangled up or was just out of place, Nash tucked himself in right behind Myers. Nash then dragged Ryan Miller across the goal crease, before tucking the puck behind Miller’s right skate for the Rangers’ first goal of the game, Nash’s 5th of the season.
Heading into the second period, the Sabres looked to gain some sort of offensive momentum, in order to tie things up.
Hopes were high, but Buffalo was not able to maintain any offensive pressure.
Throughout most of the second period, the Sabres appeared to be going through the motions as the Rangers put up 14 shots on goal.
Despite trailing 1-0, and 21-14 in shots, Buffalo would have a golden opportunity entering the third period, as they started with a man advantage for 1:57.
While the power play was unsuccessful for Buffalo, there were more offensive chances, which clearly was a good thing in this game.
As the game grew older, the Sabres slumped back into their poor offensive play.
One bright spot was when Cody Hodgson had a mini-breakaway from the blueline. Everything was great about the shot on goal, until Hodgson failed to score and hauled down Rick Nash for a penalty.
On the ensuing penalty, the Rangers successfully cycled the puck, until Brad Richards scored the Rangers’ second goal of the game, his 8th of the season, at 8:29.
Following this goal, Buffalo started to successfully increase their offensive pressure, but nothing came of it.
The lackadaisical play of the Sabres continued, and it would bite them shortly. At 14:47, Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello skated through a group of four Sabres, and took a delayed shot at Ryan Miller. The hesitation allowed Zuccarello’s shot to sneak by for the Rangers’ third goal of the game, Zuccarello’s 5th of the season.
The Sabres would end Lundqvist’s shutout, at 17:54, on Tyler Ennis’ 5th goal of the season, but that was all for Buffalo.
Buffalo would lose this game, 3-1, and are currently 6-21-2 on the season.
The Sabres play again this Saturday at the Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens. Puck drops shortly after 7 PM, and the game will be broadcast on MSG.