The Buffalo Sabres not only hosted the New York Rangers on Saturday night, but the team also welcomed fans back to KeyBank Center for the first time since March 9, 2020. Those fans got to see a 3-2 shootout victory for the blue and gold, earning them a point in four-straight games.
The Rangers struck first in the opening period while on the game's first power play. With Linus Ullmark down-and-out, tangled up with Jacob Bryson, superstar forward Artemi Panarin took a shot from the right-wall that eluded Ullmark for a 1-0 New York advantage.
The Sabres tied the game three minutes later when Casey Mittelstadt came skating down on a 2-on-1 rush with Taylor Hall. Mittelstadt took the shot in lieu of a pass, and ripped a wrist shot past the blocker of goalie Igor Shesterkin to make it a 1-1 game.
The Rangers re-claimed their lead with 2:08 to play in the second period, when Panarin scored his second goal of the night. The Sabres tried to counter the scoring play with an offside challenge, but were unsuccessful as the call on the ice stood. Buffalo was penalized for the failed challenge.
With less than four minutes to play in regulation, the Sabres tied the score for the second time on the night. Kyle Okposo found Victor Olofsson alone in the high-slot, and the sniper beat Shesterkin to make it a 2-2 contest.
The goal forced another overtime period between these two teams, as their meeting Thursday night was also settled in an extra frame.
It was a less-than-thrilling overtime between Buffalo and New York, as the teams combined for two total shots in those five minutes. The shootout was up next as a settlement still needed to be reached.
In the first round, Olofsson and Panarin were both stopped.
The second round saw the first and only goal of the three-round shootout, as Tage Thompson scored on Shesterkin to give the Sabres the 1-0 edge.
After Mittelstadt was stymied in his attempt to end it early, all eyes were on Ullmark as it came down to him and Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko.
Ullmark never had to make a true save, as Kakko lost control of his shot attempt as he moved in on the netminder. Ullmark shooed Kakko away, as the puck eluded his stick in an attempt to lift it for a backhand.
Buffalo moved to 8-23-6 with the victory.
BUF: 13:01 - Casey Mittelstadt (3) (Taylor Hall, Rasmus Dahlin)
NYR: 10:02 - Artemi Panarin (10) PPG (Chris Kreider, Adam Fox)
NYR: 17:52 - Artemi Panarin (11) (Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren)
BUF: 16:19 - Victor Olofsson (10) (Kyle Okposo, Sam Reinhart)
BUF: Victor Olofsson - save
NYR: Artemi Panarin - save
BUF: Tage Thompson - GOAL
NYR: Mika Zibanejad - save
BUF: Casey Mittelstadt - save
NYR: Kaapo Kakko - miss
BUF: 9:38 - Taylor Hall (Interference - 2 min.)
BUF: 0:55 - Colin Miller (Tripping - 2 min.); 17:52 - Team (Delay of game, unsuccessful challenge - 2 min.)
NYR: 5:37 - Kaapo Kakko (Slashing - 2 min.); 8:00 - K'Andre Miller (Hooking - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Artemi Panarin - NYR
2.) Adam Fox - NYR
3.) Casey Mittelstadt - BUF
The blue and gold visit the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Puck drop at the Prudential Center is set for 7 p.m. ET with the Paul William Beltz Pregame Show starting at 6 p.m. ET on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.