It might have been an eerily familiar early-game collapse, but Rangers rewrote the ending.
Rangers came down the right side with a 5-4 overtime win over the modest Sabers at the Garden on Sunday night after K’Andre Miller’s goal erased their second gambled early lead just over two minutes into overtime had last three games.
“They were obviously trying to get one up quick and luckily I got a stick on it,” Miller said of what he saw at the game-winning game. “[Andrew Copp] was right there, somehow started the piece, handed it over [Alexis Lafreniere] and Laffy thought I was high for walking down Main Street.”
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant highlighted how his team found a path to victory, as they have consistently this season.
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They also did so by playing with 11 forwards from the second half after second-line center Ryan Strome sustained an undisclosed lower-body injury in the first 20 minutes. After the game, Gallant said he didn’t think Strome’s injury was serious.
Rangers watched another two-goal lead evaporate as quickly as it formed, reminiscent of their collapse against the Devils on Tuesday.
Sabers winger Rasmus Asplund pocketed one at the far post to end the strike in the first period before defender Will Butcher swished across the circles to put the puck past Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and the game after just over two minutes the middle frame to knot with 2:2.
After that, the Bulgarian goalkeeper, who ended up making 13 saves, began to falter. And it resulted in Buffalo getting their first lead of the night at 6:48 a.m. of day two when Sabers winger Kyle Okposo sliced hard into the Rangers’ net and slipped one past Georgiev.
“It’s a mental thing,” Gallant said. “Same as in New Jersey. Everyone was ready to play, they were feeling good and then for whatever reason [fell off]. It’s hard to turn it on and off, so it looked like it happened to us tonight.”
Lafreniere finally answered at 11:46 of the second period for Rangers. Lafreniere extended his points streak to six games, taking a feed from Filip Chytil while cutting into the net and pulling the puck around Sabers goalie Craig Andersson to score his 15th goal of the season.
Rangers then regained the lead just under four minutes into the last frame when Artemi Panarin covered a rebound from a Jacob Trouba shot to make it a 4-3 game.
This was nothing new for the Sabers, who saw their previous four games go into overtime and/or a shootout. When Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth executed an untimely high-stick penalty to send the visitors on their first power play of the game, Buffalo stayed behind Jeff Skinner’s goal on the Sabers’ second shot in the third period to force overtime.
The new signings at Rangers put in another encouraging performance, particularly Frank Vatrano who fitted well into the topline with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Vatrano scored two goals within 18 seconds in the first half and recorded the fastest two goals by a Ranger since Jaromir Jagr in 2005 within 15 seconds.
“Had a great start tonight,” said Vatrano, who has six points in his first six games with Rangers. “Good bounces go offensively for us. I think for us it’s just about using our speed and keeping the plays simple.
“I think we’ve been doing this since we lined up. It’s only a couple of games now but I think we’re getting better with every game and just building on that and moving on.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/27/rangers-beat-sabres-in-ot-on-kandre-miller-game-winner/ Rangers beat Sabers in OT on K’Andre Miller, the game winner