Despite being out shot by their opponents yet again by a drastic margin – the Buffalo Sabres were able to hold and and defeat the New York Rangers by a score of 3-1.
The game didn’t start out pretty, as the New York Rangers got on the board first with a short handed goal. Derek Stepan was able to get one past Jhonas Enroth in the dying seconds of the Darroll Powe tripping penalty.
If mental toughness is what the Buffalo Sabres are lacking this year, then they showed up big with a good dose of it tonight. Despite letting in another short handed goal – just over one minute later, Marcus Foligno scores a between the legs backhanded goal to tie the game up at 1. He collected the puck off the back boards and – unable to do much of anything else, with some fancy stick work slid the puck into the opening of the net to tie the game.
What didn’t help the Buffalo Sabres tonight – the fact that their miserable powerplay continues to frustrate fans – the New York Rangers took six penalties tonight – and the team was unable to convert on any of them. If you count the short handed goal, they were -1 for 6 on the power play.
Buffalo was able to stay out of the box tonight though. I have to admit, I got a little gunshy when Jochen Hecht took the holding penalty in the third period. I for sure thought the New York Rangers were going to net one on their only powerplay – and then have plenty of time to send the game into overtime.
For any fan looking for the Buffalo Sabres to make a run at the playoffs, the starting line is right here. You just stopped the eighth place team from picking up a point, and you got yourself two points. The Rangers are now just five points ahead of the Sabres – but the blue shirts have two games in hand.
Buffalo is actually at a disadvantage when it comes to games played, as only them and the Philadelphia Flyers have played 27 games. There are now three teams between the Buffalo Sabres and the bottom of the barrel. The Carolina Hurricanes shutout the Washington Capitals – and Tampa Bay has a one goal lead on the Florida Panthers. If Florida can sneak a win out of their interstate rival – they will jump out of last place. Washington, the Tampa Bay Lightning both have 21 points, Florida only 20.
Tonight’s win for the Buffalo Sabres was only their tenth win of the season. The Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames are the only remaining teams under double digits.
Another instance where the Buffalo Sabres are not going to get a call. Jordan Leopold was pushed into the boards – only slightly different than how Patrick Kaleta took out Brad Richards just a few nights ago – and there was no call on the play.
While it was only a push – it was in the numbers – and could have been avoided.
Buffalo now has three days off – before an afternoon affair with the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.