Rangers Deal Big Blow to Sinking Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres came into town on Saturday to take on the New York Rangers. Both teams are still in the thick of the playoff races, although the Sabres have been slipping and are on the verge of falling too far behind. Entering the game, the Rangers had 82 points and were in 7 th place in the Eastern Conference, while the Sabres had 76 points and were stuck in 10 th place.
The Rangers prevailed 5-3 despite nearly blowing a three goal lead. It was their third straight win, and a tough loss for Buffalo who faces a steep climb to try and make the playoffs. Buffalo is slumping at the wrong time, going 3-6-1 over their last 10 outings.
The Blue Shirts carried a 4-1 lead into the start of the third period, after scoring three times in the second. The game looked all but wrapped up. However, just a few seconds into the third, the Sabres narrowed the gap to 4-2 on a goal from Clarke MacArthur, his 13 th of the season.
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The score remained there until 1:20 left in the period, when the Sabres, applying constant pressure, were able to score yet again. This time it was Toni Lydman, and the score was now a tight 4-3 with just enough time for the Sabres to try to make a move.
They pulled their goalie, however Ryan Callahan was able to send home an empty netter, his second goal of the game, and 19 th on the season, to finish off the late rally. Buffalo had 40 shots on goal for the game, compared to 31 for the Rangers. So it was the stellar work of Henrik Lundqvist in net that enabled the Rangers to win.
The once stagnant power play also returned a positive result. Following the acquisitions of Nik Antropov, Sean Avery and defensemen Derek Morris, the Rangers have managed to create a much more attacking and successful offense. This is also in large part thanks to the coaching change the Rangers made, bringing in John Tortorella. Tortorella favors a much more aggressive scheme, and the Rangers have rebounded from their terrible midseason slump under his guidance.
They are 7-3 in their last 10 games and every win has been needed. The two teams ahead of them have been on even more scorching streaks. The Penguins are 8-0-2 in their last 10 and the Hurricanes are 7-1-2. The Rangers survived a scare, but held on to skate away with the victory. They have 10 games left on the schedule, five each at home and away.
By: Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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