Rangers topple Sabres in Winter Classic 3-2 in OT

January 1, 2018

WGR 550's Pat Malacaro was in attendance at Citi Field for Monday's Winter Classic. Check out his live game blog!

Playing in their first Winter Classic in 10 years, the Buffalo Sabres battled back at Citi Field before falling to the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime. J.T. Miller netted the game-winner on the power play after Jacob Josefson took a tripping penalty in the extra frame. Miller's goal ruined an otherwise impressive outing by Robin Lehner, who kept the Rangers out of the net for over two and a half periods before surrendering the winner.

The Rangers came flying out of the gates, putting heavy pressure on Lehner over the game's first few minutes. Bouyed by a Zach Bogosian penalty only 38 seconds into the game, New York pelted Lehner with nine shots by the 6:00 mark. One of those shots came off the stick of Paul Carey for his fifth goal of the season and the 1-0 Rangers lead. Left all alone in front, Carey took a pass from Jesper Fast and wristed one into the net. Later in the period, Michael Grabner's 18th made it 2-0 in favor of New York. Kevin Hayes got the scoring chance started, cutting in, banking a shot off Lehner, through the crease and to Grabner.

Buffalo got on the board in the first minute of the second period with a power play goal courtesy of Sam Reinhart. With Nick Holden's hooking penalty carrying over from the end of the previous period, Reinhart gathered Rasmus Ristolainen's pass in front of the crease and snuck it by Henrik Lundqvist to cut the Rangers' lead in half. Lehner came up big at the other end of the ice only seconds earlier, stopping Michael Grabner's shorthanded breakaway. Lehner came up big multiple times in the middle frame, turning aside a total of 10 shots including a beautiful glove save on Grabner. The Sabres had their chances as well -- a blast by Marco Scandella rang off the post -- but Lundqvist finished the period with 10 saves of his own. 

Rasmus Ristolainen's second goal in as many games evened the score 2-2 in the final period. Mirroring the second period, Ristolainen's goal came in the first minute of play, a wristshot from the blue line that cut through traffic and into the net. Lehner again came up with several big stops throughout the period, at one point stretching his pad to stone David Desharnais on a pass from Jimmy Vesey. The Sabres came close to ending the game in overtime, however Reinhart's pass to a streaking Jack Eichel, who was in position for a tap-in, didn't connect. Josefson tripped Vesey at the 2:15 mark and Miller found the net 28 seconds later. 

The loss drops Buffalo to 10-20-9, however the Sabres have collected six out of a possible 10 points in their last five games. 

Game Summary

Goal Summary:

First Period:
NYR: 4:09 - Paul Carey (5) (Jesper Fast, Boo Nieves). 8:20 - Michael Grabner (18) (Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller)

Second Period:
BUF: 0:56 - Sam Reinhart (6) (PPG) (Rasmus Ristolainen, Jack Eichel)

Third Period:
BUF: 0:27 - Rasmus Ristolainen (2) (Ryan O'Reilly, Kyle Okposo)

NYR: 2:43 - J.T. Miller (8) (PPG) (Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Shattenkirk)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:
NYR: 13:59 - Brendan Smith (2 min., tripping). 17:27 - Kevin Hayes (2 min., hooking)/ 19:37 - Nick Holden (2 min., hooking)
BUF: 0:38 - Zach Bogosian (2 min., roughing)

Second Period:
NYR: 8:44 - Bench penalty (2 min., too many men on the ice, served by J.T. Miller). 13:57 - Ryan McDonagh (2 min., tripping)
BUF: 3:39 - Zach Bogosian (2 min., holding)

Third Period:

BUF: 2:15 - Jacob Josefson (2 min., tripping)

Shots on Goal:

NYR: 42 (16, 12, 10, 4)  BUF: 33 (13, 11, 8, 1)


NYR: Henrik Lundqvist - 31 saves
BUF: Robin Lehner - 39 saves

Power Plays:

NYR: 1 of 3 (33.3%)
BUF: 1 of 5 (20%)

Three Stars:

J.T. Miller - NYR

Robin Lehner - BUF

Kevin Hayes - NYR


What's Next:

The travel continues for the Sabres while the World Juniors continue in Buffalo. A three-game road trip begins Thursday in Minnesota, followed by road contests at Winnipeg on Friday and Philadelphia on Sunday. The Sabres and Wild drop the puck Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Hear all the action on WGR SportsRadio 550.