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Lundqvist makes 27 saves to lift Rangers to 3-1 victory over Sabres

Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 9:55 PM The Canadian Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to lead the New York Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored for New York, which bounced back from a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored and Ryan Miller made 28 saves in a loss that drops the Sabres to 3-12-1 at the First Niagara Center.

Lundqvist, playing his first game since signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract, was hardly troubled through 40 minutes, but was outstanding in the third period.

He made four quick saves in under a minute early in the period, including close range stops on Mark Pysyk and Steve Ott.

He then stopped two breakaways in as many minutes.

First, Cody Hodgson used a burst of speed to earn a breakaway on Lundqvist, but the Rangers goalie used his right pad to stop Hodgson's backhand attempt. Then, he stopped Ott's forehand.

Ennis spoiled Lundqvist's shutout at the 17:54 mark of the third, the Sabres' first goal on Lundqvist in 118 minutes of play.

New York opened the scoring on a highlight-reel goal from Nash.

Derek Stepan tapped Ryan McDonagh's two-line pass to Nash at the Sabres' blue line. Nash darted past Tyler Myers, drawing Miller across the goal before reaching back to tuck the puck around the goaltender's right skate and into the net.

Marcus Foligno came close to tying the score with 15:53 gone in the second period, but his wrist shot from distance was saved from the top corner by Lundqvist's glove.

The Sabres opened the third period on the power play, with 1:57 remaining on a tripping call to Benoit Pouliot. Their struggling unit could barely enter the Rangers zone, let alone record a shot on goal and has just one goal in its past 13 chances and two in 20.

The Rangers gave themselves a cushion with a power-play goal from Richards at the 8:29 mark of the third. Richards later added an assist and has points in his past five games.

Buffalo interim head coach Ted Nolan said Wednesday about wanting to build around Miller, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Miller stopped 20 of 21 saves in the first two periods before allowing two late goals.

New York is 14-2 when scoring first, and 1-12 when allowing the game's first goal.

McDonagh had two assists, giving him points in five straight as well. Zuccarello also recorded an assist.

NOTES: The Sabres announced that C Mikhail Grigorenko will be loaned to the Russian men's national junior team beginning Sunday for the world junior championships in Malmo, Sweden. ... RW Derek Dorsett and D Justin Falk were scratched for the Rangers. ... D Brayden McNabb rejoined the Sabres after a brief demotion to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, but was scratched.

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