Rangers survive themselves, get OT win against Sabres

The Rangers managed to survive Dustin Tokarski’s heroics, who looked more like 2014 playoffs Tokarski than Buffalo Sabre Tokarski. After sleep walking through the first, the Rangers woke up and peppered the Sabres with multiple quality chances. Tokarski made many key saves, which gave enough life to the Sabres to tie it with 3.6 seconds left in the game. Luckily the Rangers found a way to win in OT, getting the second point from the Sabres.

On the other end Igor Shesterkin kept the game 1-0 while the Rangers recovered from their hangover. The first period was brutal for most of the Rangers. But they completely dominated afterwards. That late goal was a back breaker though, and quite honestly, it’s one the Rangers shouldn’t have given up.

Every win comes with something to look at, and this time it was the ice time of the kid line. Through two periods, they had six minutes of ice time. Alexis Lafreniere got three shifts in the third period. Your number one overall pick got three shifts in the third in a one goal game when the powerplay wouldn’t shoot the puck. So much for not losing them on the bench.

Sabres 1, Rangers 0 – Rare net mouth breakdown

This is a cascade of poor defense. Brendan Smith was in another zip code. Libor Hajek should pivot to Skinner in front, as the man at the goal line isn’t a threat. Smith should read that pivot and shift to LD coverage. Julien Gauthier is *NOT* responsible for going below the hash marks in defensive zone coverage.

Rangers 1, Sabres 1 – That was a fun sequence

This was fun – both teams exchanged chances on rushes for a bit, before the Rangers finally got one. Colin Blackwell, who already had a crossbar, hit the post on a 2-on-1 with Ryan Strome. Artemi Panarin recovered the puck and no one picked up Blackwell in the same spot he got the first chance. This one he buried.

Rangers 2, Sabres 1 – Play the kids

The kids crashed the net, and came up with a goal. Julien Gauthier received a pass in the slot and tried to wait out Dustin Tokarski, which didn’t work. But he didn’t give up, and eventually fought for the puck to get to Filip Chytil, who had an empty net. Amazing what happens when you actually play the kids.

Sabres 2, Rangers 2 – Really?

Of course. Tage Thompson poked the puck through to Casey Middlestadt along the boards, then circled to the top of the circle to receive the pass back for a wide open look. It’s not really a breakdown by the Rangers, since it wasn’t from a high danger area, and the Sabres had an extra skater. Looks like the traffic in front confused Shesterkin.

Rangers 3, Sabres 2 – The OT winner

Adam Fox poked the puck along the boards away from a pair of Sabres, which sprung Panarin and Mika Zibanejad for a 2-on-1. Three Royal Road passes, and this one was over. They made us sweat. At least the Rangers got the OT win over the Sabres, when it should have been in regulation.

Shot Heatmap – Slow first, owned the rest

The Rangers started very slow in this one, ceding 1.47 xGA to the Sabres. But they owned the rest of the game, seemingly having woken up at some point in the intermission. Buffalo got nothing substantial throughout the rest of the game. I think the Rangers realized they were playing an AHL team. Until they gave up that tying goal and almost lost in OT.

Skater Results – Expected

This is about what you would expect in this kind of game. This looked much different after the first period, but the Rangers turned it on for the final 40 minutes. At least they actually woke up, that was nice. Too bad they made us sweat.

This was a needed win against a bad team to keep them relevant in the playoff race. It doesn’t seem like much, but beating the bad teams goes a long way in the standings. There are only two bad teams in the division, so getting those points matters. Granted, it would be nice if they didn’t need OT, but whatever, a win is a win.