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New York at Buffalo

Gomez scores shootout winner, sizzling Rangers edge slumping Sabres

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It took a while for the New York Rangers to become accustomed to their revamped lineup. But look at them now, suddenly on a roll and challenging for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Scott Gomez scored the decisive shootout goal in a 3-2 victory against the slumping Buffalo Sabres on Monday night, in helping the Rangers improve to 10-0-3 in their past 13 games, and move into a tie with Ottawa for fifth place in the East.

Jaromir Jagr and Fedor Tyutin scored in regulation for the Rangers, who are getting solid goaltending, timely goals and winning on back-to-back nights while closing to within three points of East-leading New Jersey.

"We've really galvanized as a group to find a way to do things and get points," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "That speaks volumes for their character."

After the two teams traded shootout goals, Gomez broke the tie by faking right and tucking the puck just inside the left post past spread-eagled goalie Ryan Miller.

"Luck," said Gomez, breaking into a wide grin on what it took to beat Miller. "Ryan's such a good goaltender that you've got to get lucky. Usually I hit the post."

Not this time, as everything seems to be falling the Rangers way, the team winning on back-to-back days after a 1-0 shootout victory against Boston.

So what's wrong with the Sabres?

Buffalo did gain a point, moving within three of idle Philadelphia, which holds the East's eighth and final playoff berth. But the Sabres, 1-3-2 in their past six, continue settling for one point when they realistically need two points to get back into playoff contention.

The Sabres blew an early lead after Jason Pominville opened the scoring 16 seconds in. They converted only one of eight power-play chances, and squandered a two-minute, two-man advantage early in the second period. And they were outshot 26-21, including 11-6 over the final 25 minutes.

"We got the start we wanted and got the early lead," Pominville said. "The disappointing part is we gave it up again and we weren't able to play with it for too long."

Pominville added an assist, and scored Buffalo's lone shootout goal. Thomas Vanek also scored in regulation for the Sabres.

Injuries are suddenly becoming a problem, too. Already down veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder (shoulder), Buffalo lost two more regular blue-liners. Jaroslav Spacek did not return after sustaining what the team called an upper body injury in the first period, while Dmitri Kalinin did not return after being hurt in the second period.

Without going into detail, coach Lindy Ruff said Spacek's is the more serious of the two injuries.

The Rangers have come a long way getting off to an inconsistent first three months. Since enduring a 2-6-2 skid, New York has gone 15-3-3 in its past 21 games.

"We felt in this room all year that we're a good team but we haven't been consistent," New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "But lately, we're playing as a team. ... And that's huge."

Lundqvist stopped 19 shots, including foiling Maxim Afinogenov on a breakaway in the final minute of overtime, to improve to 8-0-2 in his past 11 appearances.

"Ever since we've started this roll, we've been playing well and believing in each other," Lundqvist said. "When you get confidence, you play smart, you're poised."

Notes

  • New York's Brendan Shanahan opened the shootout with a goal.
  • Rangers D Marek Malik did not play because of what the team termed an upper-body injury.
  • Sabres RW Steve Bernier, acquired in a trade that sent D Brian Campbell to San Jose two weeks ago, missed his second successive game with a groin injury.
  • Jagr's goal was his 41st against Buffalo, tying former Quebec great Peter Stastny for most by any Sabres' opponent.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scott Gomez beats Ryan Miller as the Rangers improve to 10-0-3 over their last 13 games.  (AP)
Scott Gomez beats Ryan Miller as the Rangers improve to 10-0-3 over their last 13 games. (AP)

Related Links
 
Scoreboard
NY Rangers  (37-24-9) «11001 (2)3
Buffalo (32-27-11)11000 (1)2
Three Stars
J. Pominville
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
B. Dubinsky
NYR


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
P. Gaustad
BUF


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
16.0Jason Pominville (23), Wrist Shot. Assist: Paul Gaustad, Jochen Hecht
01:22Fedor Tyutin (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Nigel Dawes, Brendan Shanahan
2ND PERIOD
08:26Jaromir Jagr (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: Sean Avery, Brandon Dubinsky
14:14Power Play - Thomas Vanek (28), Tip-In. Assist: Jason Pominville, Maxim Afinogenov
3RD PERIOD
None
OT
None
SHOOTOUT
 Brendan Shanahan (5), GOAL
 Jason Pominville (1), GOAL
 Scott Gomez (1), GOAL
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:11Orr, 5 min, Fighting
03:11Peters, 5 min, Fighting
06:03Drury, 2 min, Tripping
2ND PERIOD
42.0Staal, 2 min, Hooking
03:06Tyutin, 2 min, Hooking
03:06Avery, 2 min, Roughing
08:47Betts, 2 min, Roughing
11:11Kalinin, 2 min, Slashing
13:39Sjostrom, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
14:36Mair, 2 min, Roughing
18:42Dawes, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
06:54Sjostrom, 2 min, Tripping
07:37Vanek, 2 min, High-Sticking
20:00Orr, 10 min, Misconduct
20:00Peters, 10 min, Misconduct
OT
None
SHOOTOUT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
New York87823
Buffalo78318
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGASO SSO GA
Henrik Lundqvist 64:5919231
Ryan Miller 64:5924232
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
NY Rangers0-for-0
Buffalo1-for-2
Game Information
Attendance - 18690
Referees - Stephane Auger, Bill McCreary
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Tim Nowak
 
Other Games
StL 3 Final
Cal 7
Van 2 Final
OT
LA 1