BUFFALO, NY (AP) — Artemi Panarin converted a blocked shot for a power-play goal with 2:02 of overtime as the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabers 2-1 Saturday.
Patrick Kane scored his second goal in four games since being acquired by the Rangers in a trade with Chicago, and Igor Shesterkin overcame a near-costly mistake to finish with 32 saves in one of his strongest outings in weeks. New York never led until the final score for the second straight outing, after coming from behind to beat Montreal 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday.
The Rangers maintained their position in third place in the Metropolitan Division by winning for the fourth time in six games. New York continued to dominate its out-of-state rival, improving to 10-0-1 in its last 11 meetings.
Jeff Skinner scored and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 24 shots in a game the Sabers dominated much of the game outscoring the Rangers 27-16 in the final two periods of regulation and 33-26 overall.
Buffalo continued to slide out of the Eastern Conference playoff race by falling to 1-5-1 in its last seven, but it showed plenty of determination as it tried to bounce back from a 10-4 blowout by the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Panarin’s goal came 50 seconds after Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin was penalized for hooking Mika Zibanejad.
Adam Fox set up the play when he drove into the high slot before his shot was blocked by the stick of Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons. With Luukkonen leaning to his left, the puck rolled the other way and straight at Panarin, who struck him in the open flank.
Skinner opened the scoring at 7:52 into a second period, timing a hard pass from Ilya Lyubushkin to the right circle and beating Shesterkin on short end.
Kane then equalized less than four minutes later on a lucky rebound. Driving down the right wing, his drive to the middle hit the inside of defender Owen Power and bounced off the net. The goal drew a small roar from a crowd that included a relatively large contingent of Rangers fans, as well as many of Kane’s hometown and family friends.
The Sabers initially appeared to take the lead with 7:49 remaining in the second period in a bizarre turn of events, leading to the goal being disallowed.
Shesterkin played the puck into the circle to his right, and rather than pass it to his nearest teammate, the goaltender chose to throw it onto the ice. Buffalo’s Tyson Jost gloved the puck just outside the Rangers’ blue line and fired it into the unattended net, just before Shesterkin had time to get into position.
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The goal, however, was immediately disallowed because Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson was offside when he was one step from the Sabers’ bench gate while making a line change before Jost crossed the blue line.
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant expressed the same theme when asked about his team’s various struggles.
On the production of Kid Line taking a bath, Gallant said, “Well, no one has been as productive as them. We had a great run for two months, and the last two weeks have been up and down. And I’m not blaming Kid Line. I’m criticizing the whole group.”
Of Shesterkin, who entered the day 3-3 and allowed 20 goals in his last six starts, he said: “Our team hasn’t been as strong as it could be. He’s not just one man.”
Rangers C Tyler Motte returned after missing two games with an upper body injury. … D Ryan Lindgren, who resumed practice Friday, missed his sixth straight game with an upper-body injury.
Forest ranger: Complete the four-game road trip in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Sabers: Open three-game road trip in Toronto on Monday night.