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After getting just their second win in eight games, the Buffalo Sabres credited the victory to a solid team effort.
Evander Kane and Justin Bailey scored 1 minute 42 seconds apart around the first intermission on Tuesday, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-1 victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Zemgus Girgensons and Jack Eichel also scored for Buffalo, and Anders Nilsson stopped 24 shots for the Sabres. Sam Reinhart had two assists, extending his career-best points streak to seven games.
“We played a pretty simple game for 60 minutes and had success,” Eichel said. “At times this season, we’ve gotten away from our game. You can see in the third period, we didn’t really give them much at all. A lot of pucks were north and in their zone and it seemed like we played with it in their zone.”
Buffalo has beaten the Rangers in three straight meetings — including twice this season — after losing the previous nine.
Nick Holden scored, and Henrik Lundqvist made 15 saves for the Rangers, who were trying to record their first four-game winning streak since they won five straight games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6. The Rangers have had four three-game winning streaks since.
After a slow first period and then falling behind by 3-0 just over a minute into the second, the Rangers rallied. They attempted 11 of the game’s next 12 shots, with Lundqvist making a nice stop on the Sabres’ lone shot during that stretch, a wrist shot by Derek Grant.
Holden got the Rangers on the scoreboard with 4:05 remaining in the period as he took a pass from J. T. Miller and fired a slap shot past Nilsson for his eighth goal of the season. It gave him five points in the last three games.
Buffalo got on the scoreboard first with 7:43 left in the first period. Brian Gionta sent a centering pass from the left corner that deflected off William Carrier’s skate, and Girgensons skated in, pulled the puck to his backhand and sent it in from the right side for his fourth goal of the season.
“They kind of set the tone in the first 10 minutes, and obviously they got some timely goals,” Lundqvist said. “It’s my job to be there and clean it up, but was just not able to do that.”
The Rangers then had two nice chances just seven seconds apart, but Chris Kreider’s attempt from in close was stopped by Nilsson with four minutes to go, and then Derek Stepan’s shot was gloved by the goalie.
The Sabres stretched their lead to 2-0 in the final minute of the first, taking advantage when the Rangers turned the puck over while making a line change. Lundqvist stopped a Reinhart shot, but Kane was driving to the net and knocked in the rebound with just under 39 seconds remaining for his ninth goal of the season. About one minute into the second period, Bailey made it 3-0 with his first N.H.L. goal.