NHL Game Summary - NY Rangers at Buffalo
(Saturday, January 31st)
Final Score: Buffalo 3, NY Rangers 1
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Maxim Afinogenov's first-period goal held up, as the Buffalo Sabres skated past the New York Rangers, 3-1, at HSBC Arena to sweep a home-and-home series with their in-state rival.
J.P. Dumont and Miroslav Satan also scored for Buffalo, which beat the Rangers 3-1 on Friday. Martin Biron stopped 31 shots for the Sabres, winners of four straight games and five of their last six.
The team has compiled a four-game win streak for the first time this season, while Biron has won five straight decisions, allowing just seven goals in that time.
Joel Bouchard scored the lone goal for the Rangers, who have just one win in their last 10 contests (1-7-2). Jussi Markkanen made 26 saves in a losing effort.
The Sabres found themselves down two men just over a minute into the contest as Chris Drury and Alexei Zhitnik were whistled for high-sticking and hooking, respectively. New York, though, failed to capitalize as they mustered just two shots on the ensuing power plays, which included a 5-on-3 for almost a minute and a half.
After Alexei Kovalev and Jed Ortmeyer were both called for minors at 7:34 of the first, Buffalo wasted no time in scoring the game's first goal, lucky as it was. Dumont, standing down low, tried to slide the puck across the crease, but it bounced off Tom Poti's skate and in behind Markkanen just 20 seconds into the two-man advantage.
"When things are going bad, things go in your net, and when things are going good, you see things go in their net," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "Good things happen when you throw pucks at the net. J.P. threw one and it went off the skate and in the net."
Afinogenov made it 2-0 at the five-minute mark of the opening stanza when he wristed one from the right circle past Markkanen for his 10th of the year.
Bouchard got the Rangers on the board 7:26 into the middle frame on a 4-on-1 break shortly after a Sabres' power play expired. Bobby Holik fed Bouchard just inside the blue line, who fired it off the glove of Biron and into the net.
Markkanen made a stellar save on Daniel Briere late in the period to keep the Rangers within one. Sitting down, he lunged out with his glove to stop Briere's rebound opportunity as he skated across the goal mouth.
Early in the third, Petr Nedved's effort to tie the game was stopped point- blank by Biron, who made 11 saves in the third period, thwarting New York's chances for a comeback.
Buffalo had several chances in the closing minutes to seal the victory but Dumont was stoned on a partial breakaway and Briere had one trickle off the post after sending one through Markkanen's legs.
Satan finally closed it out with an empty-net tally with just 14 ticks remaining, giving him 18 goals on the season.
Biron is 12-2-1 when the Sabres score three or more goals this season compared to just 1-8-3 when his team posts two goals or less...Buffalo won four in a row for the first time since last March...The Sabres improved to a stellar 7-1-2 in their last 10 home games...The Rangers are winless in their last four on the road (0-3-1)...Bouchard, who started training camp with the Sabres before the Rangers picked him up, scored his first goal since January 1, 2003...Sabres defenseman Andy Delmore left the game in the second period with a groin injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
01/31 22:58:34 ET