Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Rangers Outplayed By Buffalo Sabres On Hockey Fights Cancer Night

Now standing atop the National Hockey League, the Rangers struggled in all facets in an Empire State showdown on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. New York has been playing some of its best hockey. Their last week included tilts with division rivals and one of the most accomplished teams in the Western Conference.

The partnership between Hockey Fights Cancer and the NHL goes back over 20-plus years. It’s a night where teams and their fans can come together through the beautiful game to honour those whom we are fighting for. From the ringing of the bells to people donning the trademark purple, it truly is a special night for these hockey organizations. On the back of a seven-goal performance against the Boston Bruins, New York looked to carry that momentum over against Don Granato’s Buffalo Sabres.

Takeaways for Rangers on Hockey Fights Cancer Night

First Period Takeaway: More Turnovers Than A Bakery

In most of their 19 games played, the first period always seemed to be the crutch for New York. They have always come out swinging, an infectious jump was associated with their culture and mentality under Peter Laviolette. The first twenty minutes proved that Buffalo was both hungry and well-prepared.

Buffalo outshot the Rangers 3-0 in the opening two minutes. All three of those shots came off of turnovers from the Blueshirts in their own end. One of those shots came from Jeff Skinner who was absolutely robbed point-blank by Igor Shesterkin who was the only Ranger playing with some kind of jump in the opening frame.

All period long, New York struggled breaking the puck out of their own zone. Eventually, Buffalo’s JJ Peterka started the scoring and fired a shot inside of the slot past Shesterkin. Two chances on the man advantage went nowhere for New York. If their lack of powerplay success early on proved one thing, it’s that Adam Fox is dearly missed.

Second Period Takeaway: Lead In Faceoffs, Not On The Scoreboard

I have always compared a too many men on the ice penalty to biting your lip while eating. It is embarrassing, and you know well enough not to do it. Even though New York killed off the penalty, this is one negative trend that seems to happen way too often. It happened frequently under former coach Gerard Gallant and it’s continuing under Peter Laviolette.

The early start for New York was miles better for the Rangers, but it was not enough. Chances came and chances went as Buffalo netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen bailed his team out multiple times.

New York remains flawless from the faceoff dot, winning all 15 faceoffs in the middle period. All four centermen are performing to the best of their ability, and it’s showing. Yet, the upward trend would come to a halt after Kaapo Kakko suffered a lower-body injury. He would not return to the contest.

In the last minute of the second period, Buffalo doubled their lead. Syracuse native Alex Tuch tallied his seventh of the season on a rebound from a Casey Mittlestadt. Shesterkin gave up a rare rebound, one that we saw way too frequently a week ago in Dallas. New York’s momentum was deflated for the time being.

Third Period Takeaway: Fifteen Solid Minutes Is Not Enough

New York entered the third period with “guns a-blazing”. They were moving their feet and were disciplined. Buffalo’s Zach Benson took a cross-checking penalty which was accompanied by Mika Zibanejad’s fifth of the season. This was the break. This was the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything would come up roses from here on out, right? Well, guess again.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, it was Tuch again with Buffalo’s answer. Mittlestadt’s empty netter and Kyle Okposo’s goal in now three straight games would cap off the Sabres’ impressive 5-1 win over the supposed league’s best.

New York will look to regroup after this dreadful performance on Wednesday when they host the Detroit Red Wings. After their trip to Sweden, Detroit has won three straight fixtures, including a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins this past weekend. Captain Dylan Larkin continues to be a reliable weapon, having scored in his last three games.

Puck drop is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. EST from The World’s Most Famous Arena.

Main Photo: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message