Rangers lose to Buffalo in overtime

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stops a shot Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stops a shot on goal by Rangers center Chris Drury during the third period at Madison Square Garden, Sunday. (March 7, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / Christopher Pasatieri

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Chris Drury mirrored the thoughts of just about everyone who watched Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller earn the MVP award at the Winter Olympics.

"With those two guys [Miller and Henrik Lundqvist] in net and us trying to play better defensively every single night, and how tight they play, you had to figure it was going to be a low one," Drury said last night after Miller and Lundqvist dueled until 2:22 of overtime, when Patrick Kaleta's bank shot off Lundqvist from behind the right post gave Buffalo a 2-1 win.

The Rangers (67 points) are two points behind Boston for eighth place in the East.

"I knew I was in trouble because he [Kaleta] was back so fast on the rebound," said Lundqvist, who finished with 30 saves, including five in overtime. "I was just hoping for one of our guys to take him out. When you are down on the ice like that, I know it's not a good chance that I will stop it. "

Because the Rangers' scoring troubles continued, even with Marian Gaborik in the lineup for the second straight game, Lundqvist had little margin for error.

After two scoreless periods, Adam Mair beat Matt Gilroy down ice on a simple dump-in, curled away from him, found Derek Roy with a pass and headed for the slot. Mair's wrister, his fourth goal of the season, beat Lundqvist at 14:03 of the third.

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It appeared as if that tally would stand, with Miller sharp and the Rangers unable to connect. But Brandon Dubinsky dived headfirst to poke in a loose puck at 18:37 on a power play, with Ryan Callahan crashing the crease as well, to tie the score and salvage at least a point. It was the Rangers' first goal in 149:30.

"I think we're getting our chances," said Callahan, who had drawn a penalty on Jochen Hecht after a headlong rush down the left boards and a save by Miller, creating the Rangers' third power play, just in time. Miller ended with 35 saves.

In the four games since the Olympic break, the Rangers are 1-1-2, compiling four of a possible eight points. The fifth game in the toughest stretch of the final 20 games comes on Wednesday in Newark against the Devils.

"We needed the two points, we got one," said coach John Tortorella, who had called out his stars before the game, saying that Gaborik, Olli Jokinen, Vinny Prospal and the other top players need to step up at this time of year. "I thought we developed some good scoring chances. I thought we had improved in that area our last two games. We have to keep on fighting. That's all we can do.

"There are a lot of questions about offense. The way we are trying to approach it is to make sure we are doing the right thing away from the puck so we can have the puck and generate more offense."

Gaborik, who played 18:49 and looked a little more comfortable than he did against the Capitals, said his lower-body injury, suspected to be a groin pull, is feeling better. He also said it's not just up to him.

"We can't win with one goal," he said. "Everybody has to contribute out there."

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