Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Sabres 1

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
9:48
PM ET
Just one day after inking a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to lead the way in a 3-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo.

Lundqvist’s shutout bid was spoiled by Tyler Ennis with 2:06 remaining in regulation, but he picked up his ninth win of the season as the Blueshirts improved to 15-14-0.

Earlier in the week, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called out his core players to step up and “put it together” and it appears that message resonated, as two of the team’s top performers found the back of the net. Rick Nash faked out Ryan Miller with a brilliant backhand deke to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first period -- his fourth goal in five games. Brad Richards tallied on the power play for a 2-0 lead, burying a sharp-angle shot on the man-advantage during the third period. Mats Zuccarello added an insurance goal later in the third.

Streaking: Both Richards and defenseman Ryan McDonagh extended their point streak to five games. McDonagh picked up an assist on Nash’s first-period goal, while Richards’ third-period power-play marker was only his second goal in the past 12 games.

News flash: In an interview with MSG’s Sam Rosen during the first intermission, newly-appointed Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine said he still has no timetable for hiring the team’s next general manager. LaFontaine, who played for Buffalo from 1991-97, confirmed that he has expanded his list of potential candidates, however. He also said he thinks interim coach Ted Nolan has a good chance of sticking with the team once the new GM is in place.

Eye sore: Honestly, how ugly are the Sabres’ third jerseys? The loud, garish mustard-yellow sweaters stood out against an otherwise bland first two periods of play. Haven’t Sabres fans suffered enough already?

Use your head: You have to wonder if anything makes Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire cringe more than when Lundqvist uses his head to deflect a shot. That’s been a strategy the former Vezina Trophy winner resorts to occasionally -- he headed a shot during the second period of Thursday’s game -- and it has to drive the Rangers crazy. And to think, he did it one day after signing an extension worth nearly $60 million!
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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