Artem Anisimov scored his second goal of the night with 3:28 to go in overtime, picking up a loose puck in the slot and beating Jhonas Enroth to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory and a much needed win at the Garden.
John Tortorella predicted that the return of Marian Gaborik would give the Rangers a psychological lift, and it seems like the coach was spot on. The Rangers played physical (see Michael Sauer's boarding penalty in the second period) and aggressive hockey and were able to come out on top of what was a particularly sloppy game without Henrik Lundqvist, who was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms.
GABBY IMPACT: In 16:47 on the ice, Gaborik got three shots on net. It was clear that his timing was a bit off, but that's to be expected after he missed the past 12 games with a left shoulder injury.
LAST CALL FOR CHRISTENSEN?: Tortorella has expressed plenty of frustration with the play of Erik Christensen.
He seemed to be giving Christensen one more chance to impress when he paired the center with Gaborik in the winger’s first game back following a 12-game absence.
“He’s a pretty good player when he plays, and I hope he plays,” Tortorella said before the game.
Christensen didn’t make a major impact in the first two periods, with just one shot on goal. He also didn’t create many quality chances for Gaborik.
He did have the puck on his stick with an opportunity to test Enroth with 9:50 to go in the third, but he couldn’t control the puck and get his stick down to get off a quality shot. It sounded like the Garden crowd wasn’t too happy with his efforts.
MISSING ROZSIVAL: Tortorella lamented the loss of Michal Rozsival, who will be out seven-to-10 days with a shoulder injury. The coach said Rozsival’s absence wouldn’t have had a major impact say, three years ago, but Tortorella had come to count on the defenseman for “a lot of different things for this hockey team.” In place of Rozsival, Steve Eminger paired with Michael Del Zotto.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Rangers come back to the Garden on Sunday -- the second-straight Sunday they’ve shared the arena with the Knicks -- to face struggling Edmonton, which entered play Thursday 4-7-2 and in last place in the Northwest Division.
The Rangers have a chance to finish their longest home stand of the year at 2-2 after salvaging this game against Buffalo. They opened with losses to two of the top teams in the league -- St. Louis and Washington. They were competitive in both games and played well when it mattered most against Buffalo, so maybe this stand and the return of Gaborik will help them put their mediocre play at MSG in the past.