by Brian Wheeler
Head coach Lindy Ruff was again praising a Sabres special teams unit following a victory, but this time it was the penalty kill that Ruff credits with the win.
Buffalo denied the New York Rangers' power play five times in the game, including killing a five-on-three with a one-goal lead and less than 10 minutes left in regulation, to hold on for the 3-1 victory over the Rangers in HSBC Arena in front of 16,346.
''We went over at length their power play and the five-on-three they had against the Islanders, where (Jaromir) Jagr was set up to shoot pucks,'' said Ruff. ''The three guys on the ice - Jay Mckee, Teppo Numminen and Chris Drury - did an unbelievable job blocking shots.''
Several times during that man-advantage situation for New York, the Sabres co-captain and alternate captain sacrificed their bodies for the good of the team.
''That was pure desperation,'' stated McKee. ''Their power play has been going really well. We knew they were going to try to get the puck to (Jagr) and we just tried to get in the shot lanes.''
''That was huge,'' stated Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller
of the pair's dedication. ''In that situation, to see those guys taking a knee or getting down low to block a shot especially on Jagr who has a really hard shot, was unbelievable.''
Heading into the contest, the Rangers power play had converted on 25 percent of their opportunities and had scored at least one goal in every game this season. Jagr was leading the league with eight power-play markers.
Miller, who made 22 saves in the game, always tried to keep a close eye on New York's big gun.
''Jagr is the focus of everything (for the Rangers) and his teammates just want to get him the puck,'' stated Miller. ''I knew where he likes to be on the power play from film, but he also likes to move around to other places.
"We did a good job of keeping the middle contained and forcing everything outside. I have a better chance with a longer pass to get there in time.''
Michael Nylander put the Rangers on the board after slapping in a nice backhand pass from Jagr on a two-on-one at 13:04 of the first period.
Daniel Briere scored his fifth goal in four games to tie the game, 1-1, just 44 seconds into the second period.
Rory Fitzpatrick gave the Sabres their first lead of the night eight minutes later, netting a power-play goal off a nice feed from rookie Thomas Vanek
and walking in untouched on Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The assist was the rookie's team-leading seventh of the season.
After recording the game-winning goal on Thursday night against the Bruins, Ales Kotalik again sealed the victory for Buffalo.
With less than four minutes remaining and the team clinging to a 2-1 lead, Kotalik unleashed a bomb of a one-timer from the left point for the team's second power-play goal.
The velocity of the shot was so great that Lundqvist hadn't slide all the way across to the left post before the puck had rebounded out of the net on the right.
With the victory, Buffalo moves to 6-2-0 on the season and will face the Washington Capitals at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY on next Wednesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM.
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift ChartGAME BLOG:Period 1
0-0 (10:14) Buffalo goes on the two-man advantage after Martin Straka is called for delay of game. NY had two consecutive face-off violations.
0-1 (13:04): On a two-on-one break, Jaromir Jagr feeds Michael Nylander with a backhand pass for the easy chip shot over Ryan Miller
. The goal came off just the second shot on goal by the Rangers. Darius Kasparaitis records the second assist.Period 2
1-1 (0:44): Dmitri Kalinin slides a pass to Daniel Briere at the red line, springing Briere one-on-one with Henrik Lundqvist. The power-play goal was his seventh in eight games. Kalinin and Teppo Numminen are credited with the assists.
2-1 (8:47): On the power play, Rory Fitzpatrick wrists a puck five-hole on Lundqvist for second goal of the season. Thomas Vanek
setup Fitzpatrick with the across ice pass. Maxim Afinogenov records his second assist of the season on the play.Period 3
3-1 (12:28): Ales Kotalik unleashes a bomb of a one-timer from the left point that Lundqvist had no chance to stop. The goal is Kotalik's third of the season. Teppo Numminen records his second assist of the game and Paul Gaustad records his third of the season.