Callahan scores in OT for Rangers

Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers celebrates his overtime against Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres. (Feb. 25, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik made sure the slide stopped here.

Callahan scored his 100th career goal with 2:01 left in overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

"If you're gonna write it up," Callahan said, "I guess that's the way you want to do it."

Callahan's goal was his career-high 24th of the season. Gaborik had tied it with his 29th early in the third period.

The Rangers, who had lost two straight (0-1-1) for the first time since mid-December, hadn't had a lead in three games before Callahan's winner. They never led against the Islanders on Friday night in a shootout loss and were shut out Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Gaborik, on a smooth feed from Michael Del Zotto, sped in behind the defense and roofed a backhander over goaltender Ryan Miller (25 saves) at 5:32 of the third to tie the score. It was Del Zotto's 26th assist.

"It's a great pass by Del Zotto, to see him cutting through like that," Callahan said. "Gabby's been finishing those all year, and he does it again."

The Rangers (39-15-6, 84 points) remained seven points ahead of the Bruins in the East. Boston beat Ottawa, 5-3. The Rangers lead Pittsburgh by nine points in the division.

"We came back [Friday] night to get a point," coach John Tortorella said. "For us to come back and tie it up and not lose one like we did, we took a step in the right direction."

It wasn't easy.

For the fourth time in the last five games, the Rangers allowed the first goal. With the teams skating four-on-four, Drew Stafford scored at 13:29 of the first period after beating Henrik Lundqvist (18 saves) in close.

Carl Hagelin, who scored twice against the Sabres on Dec. 10, tied the score at 1 on a wraparound at 7:38 of the second. "Our line was clicking," Hagelin said. "We created a lot from down low."

The third period began with the Sabres on the power play for 1:25, a carry-over from Artem Anisimov's delay-of-game penalty after he cleared the puck into the stands. The Sabres came up the ice with three passes and Stafford beat Lundqvist high-glove side for his second goal.

The Rangers, who are 8-1-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season, did dominate at times. But in one stretch, from the second to early in the third, the Rangers had only six shots in slightly more than 22 minutes.

The Blueshirts had won the previous two meetings, including a 1-0 five-round shootout victory in their previous matchup Feb. 1. Lundqvist made 34 saves in regulation and overtime in that one.

Both teams also played Friday night, but the game was feisty. Sabres forward Paul Gaustad dropped the gloves with Brandon Prust eight seconds in, and the hard-nosed play continued after that. Late in the third, Del Zotto was slammed into the post near Lundqvist and limped away, favoring his hip, but he returned.

"We wanted this badly," Brad Richards said. "We've been a little bit all over the map the past two weeks."

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