Holding off a late-game surge by the Rangers, the Buffalo Sabres were able to extend their winning streak to 3 and capture sole possession of the Northeast Division lead. The Sabres now have 40 points, Boston has 38, Ottawa 36, Montreal 34, and Toronto is bringing up the rear with 27 points.
Scoring at Madison Square Garden opened at the 06:25 mark in the first period, with Buffalo's Derek Roy adding a tally and giving the Sabres the 1-0 lead. New York replied with 2 goals, scored by Callahan and Gaborik. Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta tied the game late in the first period.
Kaleta also scored in the 2nd period to lift Buffalo to a 3-2 lead, with a short-handed breakaway goal. No scoring took place in the 3rd period, and Buffalo killed off penalties and an extra-man situation for New York en route to the 3-2 road win.
Buffalo was out-shot again, by a margin of 38-32. The Sabres' goaltending has been and will continue to be the backbone of the team. Buffalo's league #2 penalty kill was also stellar in the game.
Buffalo's previous two wins, against league leaders Washington and Chicago, are convincing evidence that the Sabres should be counted among the league's top teams. Buffalo was the first team to shut out the Capitals this season, and did so by a score of 3-0.
Buffalo's win against Chicago was remarkable- mostly because franchise star Ryan Miller was not in the lineup. Many Sabres fans acted in disbelief when it was announced that Patrick Lalime would take the start against the Blackhawks.
Lalime quickly proved that he deserved the start, holding Chicago scoreless into the third period, and turning away close to 40 shots on goal in the 2-1 win.
These past three wins have been great for the organization. The Sabres' offense, posting 8 goals in the games,is showing some potential of lighting the spark that is necessary to really take off in the standings. Thomas Vanek has also showed some signs of life, leading the Sabres in goals with 9 (along with Clarke MacArthur, who also has 9).
The Sabres look to extend their winning streak and their Northeast Division lead Monday when they visit the Centre Bell in Montreal to take on the Canadiens.