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Late goal not enough as Sabres fall to Rangers

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It was too little, too late for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, Dec. 5, as a goal from Tyler Ennis with 2:05 remaining was not enough to mount a comeback in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers.

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In what was remotely an even first period, Rick Nash gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 2:13 remaining in the opening frame. Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh took control of the puck behind his own net, and after skating out to the hash-marks sent a pass to Derek Stepan at center ice. Stepan then quickly sent a pass to Rick Nash at the blue line on the left wing. Nash then skated past Tyler Myers straight to the Buffalo net from the left side, deked out Ryan Miller, and on the backhand stuck it into the net low on the left side to give the Rangers a one goal lead.

After a scoreless second period, Cody Hogdson would come close to tying the game on a breakaway a little over seven minutes into the third period, but was stopped by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Hodgson then got called for tripping Rangers forward Rick Nash almost immediately after, sending the Rangers on a power play.

Brad Richards would then give the Rangers a two goal lead while on the power play 8:29 into the third period. Rangers forward Mats Zucarrello took a pass from Derick Brassard on the right point in the offensive zone, and then passed it back to Brassard on the right half-wall. Brassard then passed it to Richards at the bottom of the right faceoff circle, who then wristed a shot that would beat Ryan Miller up high to put the Rangers up 2-0.

The Rangers would take a 3-0 lead a little over six minutes later with a goal by Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello took a pass from Brad Richards right at the blue line, darted between Steve Ott and Henrik Tallinder to the left faceoff off dot, and then wristed a shot that beat Ryan Miller high on the glove side to up the Rangers lead to three with 5:13 remaining in the third period.

The Sabres would eventually end Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s shutout bid with 2:06 remaining with a goal by Tyler Ennis. Lundqvist took control of the puck behind his own net after a Sabres dump in and fired it along the boards in the left corner, but Zemgus Girgensons would keep it in the offensive zone on the right wing wall just outside the right faceoff circle. The puck would find its way to Ennis at the bottom of the right circle, who then wristed a shot that beat Lundqvist high on the short side to cut the score to 3-1.

The goal would not be enough for the Sabres though, as the Rangers would hold on during the final two minutes to secure a 3-1 victory.

Ryan Miller stopped 28 shots during the loss, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 of the Sabres 28 shots just one day after signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension with the Rangers.

With the loss, Ryan Miller is now 5-16-0 on the season with a .917 save percentage and a 3.05 goals against average.

The Sabres are now 6-21-2 on the season, and with 14 points are dead last in the entire NHL. Their next game is in Montreal, where they will face the Canadiens on Saturday night. The game is set for 7 p.m. Eastern.

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