Apr 10, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Matt Hackett (31) gives up a goal to New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (not pictured) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The New York Rangers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres vs. NY Rangers: Knee-Jerk Reactions

Something that both the Sabres and Rangers struggled with at points in tonight’s game….. shots! shots! shots! shots! shots! It was just downright painful to watch sometimes. In what is probably the most obvious statement of the night: you can’t win hockey games if you don’t shoot.

The difference is that tonight, both teams struggled with that. It was a closely-matched first period, with the Rangers tallying 9 shots to the Sabres’ 12, but that was as close as it got. The Sabres got just one shot in the second period, compared to the Rangers’ 18. The good news of that middle frame: Buffalo’s single shot was a goal.

The third period was flipped. Buffalo had 11 shots, while the Rangers had three – one of which was a goal, with less than two minutes left in regulation to take the lead. Basically one big facepalm all around.

It was good to see Drew Stafford notch a goal in his return from an undisclosed injury. Of course, it was a mixed night for Stafford, who later got hit in the face with a puck shot behind the net by Tyler Ennis. He seemed to be okay, but still…. never a great thing to see a guy get hurt on his first game back. Whoops.

All in all, the Sabres were that close to taking the Rangers to overtime. 1 minute, 42 seconds. But alas, Rick Nash had something else in mind. And with that, the Sabres dropped to 2-15-1 in the last 18 games…. a pretty cringe-worthy record. The team will finish the regular season 30th in the league. There’s any number of negative things I could say at this point, but I’ll leave it at this: There’s two games left. Let’s have some fun with it. Try some different line combinations, mix things up a little…. and see who’s going to be backup to Matt Hackett in the final games. (Andrey Makarov won’t be — he’ll be going to Rochester for the Amerks 3-in-3 this weekend).

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