First period: Rangers 1, Sabres 0

John Tortorella said Marian Gaborik would give his Rangers a psychological lift on Thursday night against Buffalo. Gaborik, who is missed 12 straight games with a separated left shoulder, didn’t disappoint in the opening period.

The right-winger, playing for the first time since Oct. 15, was active in the first period, even if his timing wasn’t razor sharp. Gaborik had two solid scoring chances in 5:18 of ice time in the opening period. His teammates appeared energized as well as the Rangers outshot Buffalo, 14-8 in the first. They finished 0-2 on the power-play but found the back of the net even-strength late in the period.

Brandon Prust controlled the puck behind the net and fed Michael Sauer on the right post. Sauer tried to force it on net with a backhanded feed that tipped off of Sabres center Tim Connolly and rolled to Ruslan Fedotenko, who pounded it past Jhonas Enroth at 13:04 of the first period.

Good news for the Rangers: they are 5-1-1 when leading after the first period.