Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 shots and Jimmy Vesey scored twice to lead the New York Rangers to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.
Neal Pionk also scored in the Rangers’ third straight win. New York rookie Brett Howden picked up his sixth assist of the season before leaving with an injury in the second period.
Lundqvist was stellar while picking up his fourth win of the season and 435th of his career, moving just two behind Jacaues Plante for seventh place on the NHL’s all-time list.
Connor Sheary scored for Buffalo and Carter Hutton made 19 saves.
The Rangers made the most of their first two shots in the middle period, scoring twice within 19 seconds.
Pionk scored 41 seconds into the period when his wrist shot sailed past Hutton. Vladislav Namestnikov and Mika Zibanejad assisted on the play. On the Rangers’ next shot, Vesey snapped off a wrist shot from the slot to make it 2-0. Howden made a nifty drop pass to set up his linemate.
Howden crashed hard into the boards later in the second before being helped off the ice with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining.. He did not return.
Lundqvist appeared to be injured late in the second when Rasmus Dahlin, the first overall pick in June’s NHL draft, collided with his Swedish countrymate. However, after an extended look from the trainer, Lundqvist remained in the game.
Sheary took advantage of a turnover by Brendan Smith to pull the Sabres within one as he scored off his own rebound at 6:07 of the third.
Vesey added an empty-netter with 1:51 left.
The Rangers had allowed a tying or go-ahead goal in the final minute of their previous three games but were able to protect the lead in regulation.
Buffalo finished 0 for 4 on the power play, and New York was 0 for 1.
The Sabres’ top line of Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville has been one of the best trio’s in the NHL since being put together. After combining for 38 points in the previous seven games, they were held scoreless by the Rangers.
NOTES: F Pavel Buchnevich returned to the Rangers’ lineup after being a healthy scratch for the second time this season. … F Chris Kreider skated in his 395th career NHL game. … Rangers F Ryan Spooner missed the game due to a lower-body injury. D Adam McQuaid has missed three straight games and is now considered week-to-week not day-to-day. … Buffalo scratched F Tage Thompson and F Remi Elie along with D Nathan Beaulieu.
Rangers: Host Montreal on Tuesday night.
Sabres: Host Montreal on Thursday night.
Source: The Associated Press