Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers struggled in their first game back from the All-Star break. That was Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Thursday’s contest against the Buffalo Sabres presented a totally different story for both goalie and team.
After getting pulled against the Blue Jackets — three goals allowed on 16 shots — Lundqvist was outstanding for the Rangers in a 2-1 overtime road victory over the Sabres. Chris Kreider scored the winning goal with just over a minute remaining in the extra period.
Despite the low score, the two teams combined for 81 shots on goal and it was the goalies that came up huge for their respective clubs. Robin Lehner made 42 saves and had no chance on the Kreider winner — a quick one-timer. That’s goal No. 20 for him this season.
Lundqvist made some key saves, especially in the third period as the Rangers tried to maintain the lead. He was beaten only once as Cody Franson tied the game on a wrist shot through a screen. Still, a 36-save performance is what the Rangers needed, especially after their loss to Columbus.
The Rangers move to within two points of Pittsburgh for third in the Metropolitan Division.