Sorry this is late folks. As I said last night, none of us were available and I DVR’d the game to do the breakdown this morning. Problem was there were 12 effing goals to break down. Luckily, these goals were easy to break down, as the miscues or bounces were very obvious.
This was a very sloppy game all around, but the Rangers took advantage of more mistakes, more defensive miscues, more turnovers, and just awful goaltending from the Sabres to put eight goals up on the board. That said, Henrik Lundqvist was not sharp, Steve Eminger had a rough night, and the Rangers were just sloppy after jumping out to a six goal lead. It’s not often you give up four goals to a bad team and still find a way to win. On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Sabres 0
Derek Stepan had some good board work in the defensive zone to get the puck to Carl Hagelin. Hagelin just used his speed to burn by the defense, go behind the net, and throw it in front. The puck ricocheted a few times, the last one being off Adam Pardy, and wound up in the back of the net.
Rangers 2, Sabres 0
Another good luck goal, as Brad Richards collected the puck at the weak side boards and threw it on net. The puck deflected off Christian Ehrhoff and in.
Rangers 3, Sabres 0
Ryan Miller just gifted this one to Ryane Clowe. Maybe he got flustered because he actually saw a shot that wasn’t deflected off his own defensemen.
Rangers 4, Sabres 0
Anton Stralman created his own luck when he pinched in at the beginning of the cycle to keep the puck in the zone. The puck was eventually cycled by Clowe, Rick Nash, and Derick Brassard to maintain possession. The puck wound up back at Stralman’s stick, who beat Miller with what appeared to be a shot he should have stopped. Miller may have been screened by Ehrhoff on the play, but I didn’t see a deflection. This one ended Miller’s night.
Rangers 5, Sabres 0
Mats Zuccarello made a diving play in the offensive zone to both keep the zone and prevent a breakout for the Sabres. Richards also helped out and made sure the puck stayed in the zone. After his play, Richards moved to open space and was eventually at the goal line, where Pardy just let him hang out. John Moore collected the loose puck created from Zuccarello and Richards, and put it on net. Jhonas Enroth didn’t get all of it, and Richards tried to poke the loose puck in behind Enroth. Pardy was the one who eventually put the puck in the net though.
Rangers 6, Sabres 0
After the Sabres failed to get the puck deep in the zone, the Rangers broke out in transition. The tic-tac-toe play by Nash and Hagelin was great passing, and Nash wound up with a great look from his favorite spot to shoot (the off-wing face off dot). At this point, the Rangers relaxed, perhaps a bit too much.
Sabres 1, Rangers 6
While on the powerplay, the Sabres worked the puck to the point for a shot by Ehrhoff. Eminger didn’t tie up Cody Hodgson in the high slot, who got a stick on the shot and deflected it past Hank.
Sabres 2, Rangers 6
Just six seconds later, Nathan Gerbe beat Hank after stealing Michael Del Zotto’s clearing attempt. MDZ tried to create a play by clearing the puck cross-ice in the neutral zone. When you have a 6-1 lead, you play it safe and use the boards. Lesson learned.
Rangers 7, Sabres 2
Just as the Sabres get on the board because of a turnover, Ryan Callahan steals the puck from Mike Weber at the Rangers blue line and beats Enroth on the breakaway.
Sabres 3, Rangers 7
Hank probably wants this one back. Drew Stafford did have a beauty of a backhanded shot to the corner, but he took it from around 15-20 feet away from the net. It was a great shot, but Hank probably would like to have this one back.
Rangers 8, Sabres 3
After another Buffalo turnover at the Rangers blue line, Ryan McDonagh got the puck to Richards with both Buffalo defenders back. Richards had some room, but just threw the puck on net from the top of the circle. Enroth misplayed it, and Richards had his first career hat trick.
Sabres 4, Rangers 8
Another powerplay goal for the Sabres, as they worked the puck to Mark Pysyk at the far side boards. Pysyk took a slap shot, and it deflected off Eminger past Hank. Hank slammed his stick after this one.
The Rangers did what they needed to do to get their two points, but they appeared to let up after jumping out to a six goal lead. They were very sloppy, and either got too confident or just too lazy. After they got that six goal lead, they were outscored 4-2 to close out the game. It wasn’t a perfect win, but they got their two points, which now gives them sole possession of the #8 seed in the East. They control their own destiny.