The New York Rangers ended a brief two-game losing streak by getting a pair of goals from rookie Carl Hagelin and beating the Sabres 4-1 in Buffalo on Saturday night. With the victory, New York became the fifth team in NHL history to reach 2,500 wins; of the Original Six teams, only the Chicago Blackhawks -- with 2,432 -- have yet to achieve that milestone.
Former Sabre Martin Biron stopped 32 of 33 shots as the Rangers improved to 16-6-4. Ryan Callahan and Martin Gaborik also scored, and Michael Del Zotto added a pair of assists. Biron, who played 300 games with Buffalo at the start of his career, is now 9-3-1 against his old team.
"It's a lot of fun to play here," Biron said. "There's always a lot of energy and always a high-tempo game. And you want to play well against old teammates."
Hagelin, who was leading the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford with seven goals when he was called up last month, has given New York solid play at both ends of the ice.
"For him to keep on getting his minutes is to play away from the puck," coach John Tortorella said. "There were some stumbles, but it's really encouraging that we have another young kid in our lineup who's adding already, in just a few games."
Thomas Vanek's goal at 12:38 of the season was the only shot to get past Biron as the Sabres failed to build on the momentum from Friday night's 2-1 overtime victory against Florida. Ironically, the Panthers were in New York waiting for the Rangers -- they practiced in Central Park on Saturday and will play at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Hagelin opened the scoring at 11:34 with the second goal of his career, firing a high wrister past Jhonas Enroth with two seconds remaining in a Buffalo power play. Vanek tied it 64 seconds later when his high slapper trickled through Biron and into the net.
But the Rangers went ahead to stay with 1:09 left in the period, when Callahan drove to the net after picking off a bad pass by Christian Ehrhoff and slid a shot through Enroth's pads for New York's second shorthanded goal of the period -- the first time the Rangers have done that since March 6, 1997.
Hagelin gave the Rangers some breathing room 3:02 into the third he took a long pass from Del Zotto and beat Enroth with a slap shot from the left circle. Biron drew the second assist by starting the play with a short pass to Del Zotto.
"I'm not here to score goals every game," Hagelin added. "It's a big bonus. I'm trying to make sure we're not scored upon when I'm out there."
Gaborik finished the scoring by scoring his 14th of the season with 2:34 remaining and the Rangers on a power play.
Enroth, who won his first six decisions this season, has dropped six of his last seven.
"The last couple of games have been a little worse than the beginning of the year," Enroth acknowledged. "Hockey goes up and down, just like normal life. So it's nothing I'm walking around and thinking about. I always trust myself and trust my skills."
The Sabres lost for the seventh time in their last nine home games and continue to have trouble putting the puck in the net.
"Scoring one goal is not good enough," Vanek said. "On special teams, you don't have to score, you just want to create some positive momentum and today it cost us the game."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.
Michael Del Zotto
1 - 0 NYR
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NYR
Michael Del Zotto
3 - 1 NYR
4 - 1 NYR