RECAP: New York Rangers rebound with victory over slumping Buffalo Sabres

Mar 2, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) blocks the net against Buffalo Sabres center Tobias Rieder (13) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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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.

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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