Thursday, October 31, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Sabres 0
By Katie Strang
What it means: The Rangers knocked off Buffalo 2-0 to secure the team’s first back-to-back wins all season, but the victory was less about beating up on the lowly Sabres than it was the resurgence of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. In his second game back from injury, “The King” looked like himself again, turning away all 29 shots he faced to record the 47th shutout of his career and his second this season. The Blueshirts controlled the game -- almost doubling the Sabres up on shots -- but it was Lundqvist’s stellar effort that headlined the team’s second straight win. The Rangers are now two games within .500 with a record of 5-7-0.
Under fire: Poor Ryan Miller. The veteran stalwart of a Sabres team keen on rebuilding was pelted with rubber Thursday night as his team gave up chance after chance to the Blueshirts. Miller faced a whopping 38 shots through the first two periods, and keep in mind that’s against a team with poor possession stats. Meanwhile, the Sabres managed just 18 shots through the first 40 minutes.
Breaking out: Scoring his second goal in as many games, Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the second period after banking a rebound off Ryan Miller at 11:21. Kreider, who was sent down to the minors to start the season, has played with so much more confidence of late, and it's translating to his on-ice production. It doesn’t hurt that he’s playing with talented center Derek Stepan and skilled winger Mats Zuccarello. Kreider has generated chances using his speed and size, and he’s finishing -- a necessity considering the Rangers were one of the worst teams offensively following their nine-game road trip to start the season.
Power-play prowess: Don’t look now, but the Rangers power play is on a roll. The much-maligned unit, which has been the team’s Achilles heel in seasons past, has notched three goals in the past two games. After a 2-for-4 success rate against the Islanders Tuesday night, the Blueshirts converted on their first opportunity Thursday. Derick Brassard's slap shot beat a screened Miller for a 1-0 lead 8:23 into the opening frame.