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game recap

Zibanejad scores with 28 seconds left in OT in Rangers win against Sabres

New York recovers after Thompson ties game for Buffalo at 19:56 of third period

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

Zibanejad's game-winner in OT

NYR@BUF: Zibanejad buries Panarin's dish for OT win

Mika Zibanejad takes Artemi Panarin's return pass on the 2-on-1 rush and one-times into the net for the overtime victory

  • 00:49 •

BUFFALO -- Mika Zibanejad scored with 28 seconds left in overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Tage Thompson tied it 2-2 for Buffalo with 4 seconds left in the third period with goalie Dustin Tokarski pulled for an extra attacker. 

"Well, listen, it's a kick in the [butt] when you give up a goal with [four] seconds to go and play the way we did for the second and third period," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "But I thought we were able to pull ourselves together. You know, we got two points and, really, at the end of the day that's what this is all about. We're playing in the National Hockey League and we want to win hockey games, and we found a way to get two points tonight."

Video: NYR@BUF: Thompson scores in waning seconds of 3rd

Colin Blackwell and Filip Chytil scored, and Artemi Panarin had two assists for the Rangers (17-15-4), who won for the fifth time in seven games. Igor Shesterkin made 21 saves in the first of a two-game set that ends here Saturday.

Rasmus Asplund scored, and Tokarski made an NHL career-high 44 saves for the Sabres (7-23-6), who had ended a shootout-era record of 18 games without a win Wednesday (0-15-3).

"It would have felt a lot better to get the win. [Tokarski] deserved that one big time," Thompson said. "He played a great game, stood on his head, made some huge saves for us. It would have been nice to get him the win, but I think you've got to be proud of the way we battled back. I think we let our game slip a little bit in the second there, but I think the effort was there for the most part tonight."

Asplund, in his return after missing four games with an upper-body injury, jammed in a rebound in a scramble in front to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 2:06 of the first period.

"We gave up the first goal, obviously, and then we changed the speed of the game," Shesterkin said. "We started putting more pucks on their net. It was a little bit challenging not facing a lot of shots and the rink is pretty cold, so I was getting a little bit cold, but the guys did a great job to get the game rolling."

Video: NYR@BUF: Blackwell rifles puck in off the iron

Blackwell tied it 1-1 at 6:40 of the second period on a shot from the left circle. Ryan Strome had an assist to extend his point streak to 11 games (two goals, 14 assists). He also has a 10-game assist streak, tying Rod Gilbert for the second-longest in Rangers history behind Brian Leetch (15 games, 1991-92).

"Honestly, don't try to think about it too much," Strome said. "I just try to go out there and make plays. Right now we have the puck a lot, which is fun. Even tonight we had so many chances for more goals. Things are clicking right now, so just try to make the play that I see in front of me. 

"To be in that company is a nice honor, but this time of the year, even though it's a cliche, just finding ways to get wins is important. We want to play meaningful games here down the stretch. I think we've worked really hard here to give ourselves a chance to do that. Obviously it feels good to be helping the team out at this time also."

Chytil made it 2-1 when he lifted a loose puck over a sprawled Tokarski at 6:17 of the third period. 

Buffalo was playing the second game of a back to back after its 6-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, and its third game in four nights. 

"We battled a lot of fatigue tonight," Sabres coach Don Granato said. "It was obvious we had the great energy in the first and it looked like we just died from the energy standpoint in the second. We reverted back to a lot of hesitation, and that's a real sign of fatigue. … Then you saw a little bit of it at the start of the third, missing the net on shots that were point-blank, so a lot of characteristics of that. I thought our guys elevated tremendously in the last few minutes to get that goal."

NOTES: Zibanejad scored his sixth overtime goal, fourth-most in New York history and second-most since the reimplementation of overtime in 1983-84. Cecil Dillon, Butch Keeling and Leetch each scored seven. … Rangers defenseman Adam Fox had an assist to extend his point streak to nine games (two goals, 14 assists). … Thompson's goal matched the third-latest tying goal in Buffalo history (59:58, Feb. 7, 2013; 59:57, Jan. 7, 1983). … Tokarski made 41 saves for the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-2 win at the Florida Panthers on March 17, 2015. … The Rangers took 47 shots, the most Tokarski has faced in an NHL game.

Video: Zibanejad's OT winner lifts Rangers past Sabres

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