FINAL
BUF
1
NYR
2
FINAL
WSH
5
CAR
2
FINAL
NYI
2
MTL
0
FINAL SO
NJD
1
OTT
2
FINAL
PHI
2
TBL
4
FINAL
TOR
2
FLA
4
FINAL
PHX
0
NSH
2
FINAL
STL
2
MIN
4
FINAL SO
BOS
1
WPG
2
FINAL
LAK
3
EDM
0
FINAL
COL
4
VAN
2
BUF
21-51-10
NYR
45-31-6

24 SOG
30 SOG

Nash scores late to give Rangers win, home ice

Tal Pinchevsky  - NHL.com Staff Writer | Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:25 AM

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will have home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Rick Nash scored with 1:42 left in the third period to give the Rangers a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The win, coupled with the Philadelphia Flyers' 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, ensured New York will finish second in the Metropolitan Division.

"If we can get home ice, we'd prefer to get it," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "The higher seed you are, the better off you are."

Benoit Pouliot scored late in the second period for New York (45-31-5); Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves.

Drew Stafford scored for Buffalo (21-50-9); Matt Hackett stopped 28 shots.

New York dominated the second period but couldn't find much of a rhythm in the third, going the first 13:38 without a shot.

Martin St. Louis took a drop pass from Derek Stepan at the left wing and found Nash at the top of the right circle. Nash one-timed a shot past Hackett's outstretched glove for his team-leading 26th goal of the season. His nine game-winners are almost double that of Carl Hagelin, who ranks second on the Rangers with five.

"It showed a lot that we stuck with it, we showed some character," Nash said. "Good teams win those games."

New York's third-period struggles were a contrast to the second, when they had the first six shots and maintained possession in the Buffalo zone for long stretches. The Sabres were unable to mount much of an attack and failed to register a shot until 9:06. When they got that shot, they made it count.

Stafford opened the scoring when he tipped Mike Weber's slow wrist shot from the right point past Lundqvist. Stafford scored his 16th goal of the season in his return after missing four games with an undisclosed injury.

New York continued to apply pressure, outshooting Buffalo 17-1 through the first 18:15 of the period. The Rangers finally beat Hackett with 32 seconds remaining. Mats Zuccarello found Pouliot in stride at the left circle with a cross-ice backhand pass and the wing wristed a high shot to score.

"[Zuccarello] knows where everyone is. You've just got to find a spot somewhere and he's going to find you," Pouliot said. "Even when he's on his backhand coming in, he's always looking. That's a saucer pass cross-zone, it was unbelievable. At first, I thought maybe [shoot] glove side, but I was already on a bad angle to go across so I went short side."

Pouliot's 15th goal of the season extended his point streak to seven games, tying a career high he set in December. The primary assist extended Zuccarello's point streak to six games, continuing an impressive run that included the two connecting for the game-winning goal in a 4-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

"[Zuccarello] and [Derick Brassard] do a lot of work and they spread the play out pretty good. I've just got to get somewhere and find a place," Pouliot said. "We should shoot a little bit more, but things are going pretty well."

The play started with an errant clearing attempt by Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder that was quickly sent the other way by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Seconds later, the puck was behind Hackett after another costly turnover by the Sabres, who have lost nine of their past 10 and will finish the season with the NHL's worst record.

"Those are the things that have happened to us for the vast majority of the year. It's inconsistent," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. "We play well and then we don't play very well. We make good plays and then we turn over the puck."

The Rangers complete their regular season Saturday on the road against the Montreal Canadiens with their first-round opponent not yet determined. The Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets each have 91 points through 80 games competing for third place in the division.

The Rangers will look to continue a hot streak of 9-2-1 in the past 12 games.

"The last month-and-a-half we've been playing consistent. We go into every game expecting to win it," Staal said. "We have a good feeling going into the last game. Hopefully we can carry that momentum into the playoffs."

1st2nd3rdT
BUF
NYR
Scoring Summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
09:06BUF Drew Stafford (16) ASST: Mike Weber (7), Tyler Ennis (22) 1 - 0 BUF
19:29NYR Benoit Pouliot (15) ASST: Mats Zuccarello (40), Derick Brassard (27) 1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
18:18NYR Rick Nash (26) ASST: Martin St. Louis (39), Derek Stepan (40) 2 - 1 NYR
Three Stars of the Game
Rick Nash
1st
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 16:42
Benoit Pouliot
2nd
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 15:48
Matt Hackett
3rd
SA: 30TOI: 58:48
GA: 2EV: 20-22
PIM: 0PP: 8-8
SV%: .933SH: 0-0
Penalty Summary
1st Period
10:55BUF Zemgus Girgensons  Hooking against  Mats Zuccarello
18:29BUF Christian Ehrhoff  Slashing against  Benoit Pouliot
2nd Period
04:50BUF Henrik Tallinder  Hooking against  Kevin Klein
16:51BUF Marcus Foligno  Hi-sticking against  Kevin Klein
3rd Period
10:13NYR Dominic Moore  Hooking against  Tyler Ennis
15:10NYR Benoit Pouliot  Slashing against  Matt Hackett
18:57BUF Matt D'Agostini  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Brian Boyle
18:57NYR Brian Boyle  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Matt D'Agostini
shots by period
PeriodBUFNYR
1st129
2nd118
3rd113
Total2430
Team Stats
CategoryBUFNYR
Power Plays0/20/4
Hits2215
Faceoff Wins2730
Giveaways1011
Takeaways82
Blocked Shots216
Penalty Minutes106
  • BUFFALO
  • NY RANGERS
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
4J. McBainD0002019:23
6M. WeberD0102018:08
10C. EhrhoffD00-10224:08
17T. MitchellC00-10014:21
19C. HodgsonC0005017:40
20H. TallinderD0001218:33
21D. StaffordR10-13020:09
23V. LeinoL0000011:04
27M. D'AgostiniR0004216:48
28Z. GirgensonsC0001220:02
29J. McCabeD0000015:59
37M. EllisL000309:26
55R. RistolainenD00-10020:59
63T. EnnisC01-11018:12
65B. FlynnC0000013:37
80C. StewartR0001016:26
82M. FolignoL0000210:47
88C. ConacherC000106:27
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
31M. Hackett2830.93358:48
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
4R. DiazD0010018:30
5D. GirardiD0012020:02
6A. StralmanD00-10019:16
8K. KleinD0011016:59
12J. FastR0000012:00
15D. DorsettR0000010:07
16D. BrassardC0100016:31
17J. MooreD0003016:54
18M. StaalD0002022:47
19B. RichardsC0005017:22
21D. StepanC0111016:53
22B. BoyleC0002213:45
26M. St. LouisR0110015:53
28D. MooreC0002211:24
36M. ZuccarelloL0103018:08
61R. NashL1014016:42
62C. HagelinL0002015:56
67B. PouliotL1003215:48
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
30H. Lundqvist2324.95860:00