|Artem Anisimov's second goal won the game for the Rangers at 1:32 of overtime over the Sabres 3-2.|
This time, the Rangers weren't going to allow another blown call to cost them on home ice. Instead, they stuck with it, prevailing over the Sabres 3-2 in overtime thanks to hero Artem Anisimov, who got to a loose puck and wired his second of the night past Jhonas Enroth at 1:32.
Arty's big night along with a strong game from ex-Sabre Martin Biron allowed the Blueshirts to prevail in Marian Gaborik's return. He may not have scored and who could playing with Alex Frolov and Erik Christensen but at least his guarantee was backed up. In his first game back since the third game of the season, Gabby looked decent missing on a couple of chances while showing the acceleration that makes him a threat. He nearly helped setup a goal but as usual, Frolov choked with a gaping net drawing boos. We'll try not to dwell too much on that or Christy's bad turnover that nearly led to Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy sealing it. Why Vanek didn't shoot we'll never know.
At the very least, it allowed the Rangers to come down and score with some good work done by Fedotenko to help keep the play alive following Dan Girardi's shot which was blocked by Buffalo defenseman Jordan Leopold. However, before he recovered the puck Anisimov snuck in and surprised Enroth top shelf for the game-winner. That both Fedotenko and Arty were in on it was well deserved for both as each played excellent games and got rewarded. Nice to see. Especially for Fedotenko who ended a 10-game drought when his hustle allowed him to poke home a loose puck for the lead in the first period. Unfortunately, another inadvertent whistle robbed him of a second which probably would've made things easier.
Instead, it was another one of those seesaw struggles for John Tortorella's club at home. They came out forechecking strong in the first, getting particularly effective play from newly formed checking unit Fedotenko, Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust. Their hard work led to one of two power plays, which both looked good with Gabby back in. The club kept pucks alive and generated chances but couldn't beat Enroth. It was the extra effort of the new grind line that resulted in Fedotenko's first in 11 games. A strong Boyle forecheck kept the play alive and then Prust and Mike Sauer combined to get the puck to the net where Enroth couldn't hold on before Fedotenko chipped it in at 14:04.
After dictating much of the play, the Rangers fell back a little in the second with Sauer pushing pest Patrick Kaleta from behind for a boarding minor, which saw Paul Gaustad come to the aid of his fallen teammate. They gave Gaustad and Fedotenko matching roughs while Sauer served his two. His teammates picked him up with outstanding work done by Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Mike Del Zotto and Steve Eminger. The forwards also helped with Boyle, Derek Stepan, Callahan and Dubinsky all making good reads, preventing Buffalo from getting a sniff. However, the Sabres gained momentum from it, forcing Biron to make a few tough stops. His rebound control was good. Especially considering that he was not told he was starting until Henrik Lundqvist arrived sick, basically putting it on Marty's shoulders.
Another failed five-on-three kept Buffalo afloat. On it, Tort used his timeout only to see Tyler Myers use his reach to clear the zone. At five-on-four, they didn't get much done, increasing the frustration level. The powerless play went 0-for-5, getting worse as the game progressed. When you blow a big chance like they did, it usually comes back to bite you. A fluky play allowed Buffalo to tie it when on a delayed penalty, rookie Tyler Ennis chipped a loose puck past a protesting Biron, who thought he had possession for a whistle. However, replays showed he never had control which is why Ennis was able to convert at the doorstep. His second in 24 hours. Roy and Vanek drew the helpers.
The second's conclusion was wild. First, following an icing in which Lindy Ruff burned his timeout, Brandon Dubinsky won the draw. The puck eventually came around to Callahan who chipped it back to Dubinsky, who quickly centered for Anisimov in front for a gimme. His third ended a nine-game drought, giving the Rangers back the lead with 48 seconds left. We're safe, right? Not so fast. On the very next shift, the Sabres came right back scoring another weird goal thanks to grunt work from their fourth line. Cody McCormick and Rob Niedermayer combined to get the puck to Mike Grier, who buried it with 2.8 seconds left stunning MSG and sending me into a Tweetfest. :P Here were a couple summing up my thoughts as to how such a play occurred:
Yeah. I was not pleased. Staal didn't play poorly by any stretch. But I just can't comprehend what he and Danny G were doing on that play. Callahan was the only guy in front. One concept which has to change for this team is this business with opposing players cruising through our crease and running our goalies. Would it kill one of our D to actually get in front of them and push them out? Rant over.
Early in the third, more controversy happened when Fedotenko looked to have restored our lead. This time, he steered home another loose puck with the whistle coming some five seconds later. Three games in a row, this team loses out on a goal. One because Bill McCreary thought there was a hi-stick on the Blues. Fine. He made an honest mistake. They lost by a goal and had plenty of time to tie it. Then you had the atrocity the other night in which Fedotenko put us ahead only to be called for incidental contact. Perhaps but it seemed pretty shady. Tonight's took the cake. It definitely should've counted. When will this disorganized league change that rule. It's awful.
With the game still up for grabs, Gaustad took a minor with under nine left in regulation. Absolutely zilch got done. Del Zotto in particular stunk, fumbling the puck at the point. Sure. He got one or two shots through but his confidence isn't there. Anyone can see it. Still can't get over Matt Gilroy getting one PP shift. What in God's name does Tort have against Hobey, who actually was solid in his 13+? I just don't get it.
As if the refs weren't bad enough, they invented a call on Boyle for tripping when he did no such thing. I guess aggressiveness isn't allowed in this wussified league! Someone should send 100 copies of Slap Shot to Bettman making him cry in his panties. The game is regressing. Dial up The Beatles HELP! At least the Rangers killed it, forcing OT. The four-on-four was fun with each New York club going for it. First, a lousy turnover by Christy led to a two-on-one for Vanek and Roy. After Vanek faked out our D, he had the puck in the same position as his shootout winner past Johan Hedberg. But he opted not to shoot, instead passing for an open Roy at the side, who never got off a shot. If that epic fail doesn't sum up Vanek's career, my name's not Derek Felix.
The missed opportunity allowed the Rangers to come down and earn the decider off what else but hard work. Fedotenko and Anisimov combined to work the puck to Girardi, whose shot was blocked by a sliding Leopold. But Fedotenko didn't give up and when Leopold missed, Anisimov quickly fired past Enroth for an exciting finish that saw an emotional Tort pump his fist and probably say, "Hell yeah!" Or something to that effect. A much needed home win, ending a two-game skid and putting us back over .500 (8-7-1) with Tom Renney's struggling Oilers visiting Sunday afternoon. Let the ass kissing begin. :P
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Artem Anisimov, NYR (2 goals incl. OT winner at 1:32, 5 SOG, 3-2 draws, +1 in 14:49)
2nd Star-Martin Biron, NYR (29 saves incl. 10/10 in 3rd, 1st win as Ranger-2nd overall at MSG)
1st Star-Ruslan Fedotenko, NYR (2nd of season, assist, 4 SOG, hit, +2 in 15:52)