On the night Marian Gaborik, one of the pillars of the Rangers’ roster, returned to the lineup, another, Henrik Lundqvist, missed the game due to illness. But no matter: Sure, the Rangers took two more leads only to see the Sabres even the score both times. And yes, their power play struggled again. But they’d win the game anyway, 3–2 in overtime.
Artem Anisimov deserved his first star: He worked awfully hard during the overtime shift that produced the game winner, after already having scored a goal in the second period skating with his regular line of Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. (In addition to scoring that goal, this line also set up one of the game’s prettiest scoring opportunities on a nifty Callahan pass to set up Dubinsky on the doorstep — a shot Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth would stop.)
But the Rangers don’t win this game without Martin Biron stepping up in place of Lundqvist. Biron was sharp, turning aside a handful of quality Buffalo scoring chances and allowing just two goals on scrambles in his own crease — the kind his defensemen are responsible for preventing. Biron has turned in three solid outings in his four games so far; maybe this really will be the year Henrik Lundqvist gets an appropriate number of nights off.
Of course, overtime could have been avoided if Ruslan Fedokenko’s second period goal hadn’t been waved off after a whistle allegedly blew before the puck crossed the goal line. It’s the third game in a row the Rangers have had a goal (or what they thought was a goal) waved off, and like Sunday, when Alex Frolov slipped the puck past Blues goalie Ty Conklin after the whistle stopped play because of a phantom high stick, the refs appeared to get this one wrong.
In any case, it’s a win on a night the Rangers didn’t play their best hockey. Their second period — a period that ended with a bizarre final minute in which the Rangers scored immediately after a Buffalo time out, then let the Sabres tie the score on Mike Grier’s goal with 2.9 seconds remaining — was especially rough. But wins like that count all the same.