Miller overtime goal lifts Rangers past Sabres in Winter Classic
Lundqvist makes 31 saves, stays undefeated in outdoor gamesby Mike Battaglino / NHL.com Staff Writer
NEW YORK -- J.T. Miller scored a power-play goal with 2:17 left in overtime, and the New York Rangers remained undefeated in outdoor games with a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field on Monday.
"I mean, that's a pretty surreal moment, really special," Miller said. "I can share it with my family and friends. In front of 40,000 people, that's something you can only dream about.
"It was a blast. It was everything obviously I hoped it would be."
[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Sabres highlights]
Paul Carey and Michael Grabner scored first-period goals for New York (21-13-5). Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and is 4-0-0 outdoors in the NHL, winning each game the Rangers have played, dating to the 2012 Winter Classic.
Video: NYR@BUF: Lundqvist slams the door on Okposo
Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart scored for Buffalo (10-20-9), which played in the first Winter Classic 10 years ago. Robin Lehner made 39 saves.
Video: NYR@BUF: Reinhart pots rebound for power-play goal
"What a great atmosphere for our team and for our fans," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "We started the game, I think we weren't really moving our feet that well. We took an early penalty, which I think put us on our heels and it got them some momentum. But we got the puck in deep and started to forecheck.
"The second period was really solid for us. Third period could have gone either way, but I'm really proud of our guys. It's unfortunate that stick penalty had to happen."
Sabres forward Jacob Josefson was called for tripping Jimmy Vesey with 2:45 left in overtime, and Miller scored 28 seconds later on a rebound of a shot by Kevin Shattenkirk.
"[J.T. did] a great job on the shot, got a nice tip on it, and his ability to stay with it and have the presence of mind to find that rebound was a great play by him," Shattenkirk said.
Ristolainen tied it 2-2 27 seconds into the third period with a long shot that went over Lundqvist's glove. It was the defenseman's second straight game with a goal after he went his first 28 without scoring.
"We got the puck deep and [Ryan O'Reilly] made a strong play there, 1-on-1 battle, got me the puck," Ristolainen said. "I tried to look for space and get the puck there, and it was good that it went in."
Reinhart made it 2-1 56 seconds into the second period on the power play.
Grabner gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead at 8:20 of the first period. Kevin Hayes stick-handled toward the net and made a backhand pass facing backward. Grabner scored with a tap-in at the opposite post.
Carey scored at 4:09 of the first period on New York's ninth shot for a 1-0 lead.
Video: NYR@BUF: Carey opens the scoring at Winter Classic
"Everyone was excited and looking forward to this game," Grabner said. "It was a nice day yesterday with the families, so you're just trying to get all those emotions and bottle them up for the game, I think, and I think it showed at the start. We had a pretty good start."
Goal of the game
Miller's goal with 2:17 left in overtime.
Video: NYR@BUF: Miller scores OT winner at Winter Classic
Save of the game
Lehner's save on Grabner with 50 seconds left in the second period.
Video: NYR@BUF: Lehner flashes the leather on Grabner
Highlight of the game
Hayes' pass on Grabner's goal at 8:20 of the first period.
Video: NYR@BUF: Grabner buries Hayes' fantastic pass
They said it
"It was fun. It's a fun atmosphere. They keep it rocking, it was loud, the crowd was behind both teams, and it was a close game too, ultimately, so that made it exciting for everybody, and it was great for us to find a way to come through there in overtime." -- Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh
"It was a great experience from start to finish. This whole weekend, the NHL did a great job. Thanks to the [New York] Mets for having us here, the Rangers. ... The anthems going, the flyover, the fireworks. All that brings chills to your spine." -- Sabres forward Jack Eichel
"Coming home and being able to play in front of the same fans I probably shared a couple hockey games with myself, and baseball games, I think we all really took it in and enjoyed it as much we could, and I'm glad we won for them as well." -- Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk
Need to know
Lundqvist (423-258-80) tied Tony Esposito for eighth place in NHL wins. … New York's Alain Vigneault won his 635th game as an NHL coach (635-409-94 with 35 ties), passing Darryl Sutter for 11th place. … Game-time temperature with 41,821 fans at the home of the Mets was 20.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest Winter Classic (13 degrees) was played in 2014 at Michigan Stadium, when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout. … Buffalo lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a shootout in the 2008 Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium (now New Era Field). … The Rangers have outdoor wins against the Philadelphia Flyers (2012 Winter Classic), New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders (each the 2014 Stadium Series).
Rangers: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)
Sabres: At the Minnesota Wild on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, MSG-B, NHL.TV)