Chris Kreider scored the game-winning goal midway through the second period and the host New York Rangers edged the struggling Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, on Tuesday night.
Pavel Buchnevich scored on the game’s first shift and added an assist as the Rangers won for the fourth time in six games and bounced back from a lackluster showing in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins before starting a six-game road trip.
Rookie Alexis Lafreniere, who scored the game-winner in overtime in Buffalo on Jan. 28, added the other goal as the Rangers beat the Sabres for the ninth time in the past 12 meetings.
Igor Shesterkin, who took the loss Sunday when Alexander Georgiev was getting attended to in the locker room, made 22 saves. He was seldom tested but preserved New York’s one-goal lead midway through the second period with a diving stop on Jeff Skinner.
Sam Reinhart and Tobias Rieder scored for Buffalo, which entered the game coming off consecutive 3-0 home shutouts to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sabres tied a season high with their fourth straight loss and dropped to 2-8-1 in their past 11 games.
Buffalo goaltender Carter Hutton made 16 saves.
New York scored 28 seconds in when Mika Zibanejad hit Buchnevich in stride with a lead pass that resulted in a breakaway goal.
After Buffalo tied it 27 seconds later on Reinhart’s wrist shot from close range over Shesterkin’s glove, the Rangers regained the lead 2:36 in when Lafreniere stood in the crease and deflected Buchnevich’s pass from the right faceoff circle over a sprawling Hutton into the vacated net on a goal that occurred moments after Zibanejad forced a Buffalo giveaway in the right corner.
Kreider made it 3-1 with 10:28 left in the second on a goal that seemed to surprise him. After getting the puck from Ryan Lindgren in the neutral zone, he lifted a wrist shot from above the right circle through Buffalo defenseman Steve Mountour’s legs that sailed over Hutton’s stick.
The Rangers did not get another shot on goal in the second after Kreider’s 10th goal and Buffalo got within 3-2 when Rieder’s rising shot from the left point sailed through traffic and over Shesterkin’s right arm.
–Field Level Media