Panarin scores in OT, Rangers beat Sabres 2-1

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Igor Shesterkin bailed out the New York Rangers by stopping 32 shots to force overtime, and Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal 2:02 into the extra period for a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Patrick Kane scored his second goal in four games since being acquired by the Rangers in a trade with Chicago, but much of the credit for New York's fourth win in six outings went to Shesterkin.

“When he’s on his game, we’re a hard team to beat,” defenseman Adam Fox said. “You never want to force him to bail us out, but that’s just what he does.”

Despite making a near costly miscue on a Sabres' goal waved off because the play was offside in the second period, Shesterkin stopped the final 21 shots he faced, including 14 in the third period. His best save came with 65 seconds remaining in regulation, getting across to foil Victor Olofsson, who was set up alone at the left post.

Jeff Skinner scored and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 24 shots for Buffalo, which continues slipping out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. In dropping to 1-5-1 in their past seven, the Sabres showed resolve in attempting to bounce back from a 10-4 drubbing to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

“I think we played less tight than we have the last few games. I don’t know if we got to fearless yet. I think there’s a whole other level for us,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “Without compromising defensively, I felt we still generated enough to win a hockey game.”

The Rangers never led until the final score for a second straight outing, after rallying to beat Montreal 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday.

Panarin’s goal came 50 seconds after Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin was penalized for hooking Mika Zibanejad.

Adam Fox set up the play when he drove into the high slot before having his shot blocked by the stick of Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons. With Luukkonen leaning to his left, the puck rolled the other way and directly to Panarin, who snapped it into the open side.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant credited his team for playing better defensively after allowing 12 goals in its previous three outings, while expressing concern with the chances New York gave up in the final minutes of regulation.

“Late in the period like that in a 1-1 hockey game to give those chances, it’s not acceptable for our group,” Gallant said. “A lot of guys in there should be thankful that Igor made those saves for them.”

With the score tied at 1, the Sabres initially appeared to take the lead with 7:49 left in the second period on a strange turn of events, which led to the goal being waved off.

Shesterkin played the puck in the circle to his right. Instead of passing it to his closest teammate, the goalie fire it up the ice. Buffalo’s Tyson Jost gloved the puck down just outside the Rangers blue line and fired it into the untended net, just before Shesterkin had time to scramble into position.

The goal, however, was immediately disallowed because Olofsson was offside as he was a step from the Sabres bench door while making a line change before Jost crossed the blue line.

ICE CHIPS

New York improved to 10-0-1 in the past 11 meetings against Buffalo. ... Rangers C Tyler Motte returned after missing two games with a upper body injury. ... D Ryan Lindgren, who resumed practicing on Friday, missed his sixth straight game with an upper body injury.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Complete four-game road trip at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Sabres: Open three-game road trip at Toronto on Monday night.

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John Wawrow, The Associated Press