Rangers beat Sabres, 1-0, in shootout
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BUFFALO -- Scouts from 15 NHL teams were at First Niagara Center Wednesday night. Any trade discussions may be on hold. Few players stood out in the Rangers' 1-0 shootout win, except the goaltenders, Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan Miller, who aren't on the block.
And add Ryan Callahan to the short list of keepers.
For the second straight night, the Rangers went to the skills competition and this time, Callahan won it in the fifth round with a wrister. The Rangers had lost, 4-3, to the Devils on Tuesday night.
In the shootout, Nathan Gerbe hit the post on his opening try. Marian Gaborik, who had been 4-for-23 in his career in shootouts, scored off the inside of the post. Lundqvist made a diving save along the line to deny Brad Boyes (27-for-57 career in shootouts) with his glove. John Mitchell was stopped by Miller with a chance to win it, then Jason Pominville scored to tie the shootout at 1. Miller got his glove on Brad Richards' backhand. Tyler Ennis hit the post in the fourth round. Derek Stepan was then stopped by Miller. Lundqvist, on his rear end, stopped Ville Leino before Callahan's winner.
Callahan had been 1-for-10 in his career in shootouts.
The Sabres came close to winning in overtime, when Derek Roy pounced on a rebound and his backhander hit the post with Lundqvist down and 12 seconds left.
Lundqvist, playing his first regular-season game since shutting out Winnipeg, 3-0, last Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, was spectacular. He has allowed one goal or less in 10 of his last 17 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 25 games this season.
With 1:38 to play in regulation, Michael Del Zotto lifted the puck over the glass, giving the Sabres their fifth power play. Lundqvist, who made 34 saves through overtime, including 12 in the third period, made a huge stop on Boyes in front on that power play.
The Rangers were shorthanded for the fourth time when Ennis was hauled down in front of the net by Anton Stralman with 5:11 left in regulation. Callahan dumped Ennis after he pulled the puck from under Lundqvist after the whistle and shot it into the net.
After a sluggish first 40 minutes, the pace picked up in the third period, with the Sabres more energetic, winning battles in the offensive zone. Lundqvist had to be sharp. Boyes hit the iron from the right side about three minutes into the third period, and the Rangers had their first power play of the night when Ennis high-sticked Ryan McDonagh with 13:58 left. But the Rangers got only one shot, from the point, with 14 seconds left, exactly what one might expect from a power play ranked 28th on the road.
The Rangers have recorded at least one point in seven of their last eight road games (6-1-1 over the span), and are 12-3-1 in their last 15 games away from Madison Square Garden, where they will open a three-game homestand on Super Bowl Sunday with the game against the Flyers (1 p.m.) since the Winter Classic. The Rangers are 3-0 against the Flyers this season.