Kaapo Kakko also scored twice and Adam Fox had one goal and two assists as the Rangers won for the fourth time in six games (4-1-1) by beating the Sabers for the 10th time in the last 13 met. Artemi Panarin had three assists and Ryan Strome added two.
Keith Kinkaid, starting a second straight game, stopped 16 shots to go 3-1-1 this season.
“It’s a resilient group here,” Fox said. “At the start of the year, it was difficult not to win games that we were going in third with a lead. Against Washington (Saturday) and this game, we lost our heads, but we got it right away and didn’t really weaken. ”
Rasmus Asplund, Dylan Cozens and Jeff Skinner scored for Buffalo, which fell to 0-12-2 to tie the NHL’s longest skid since the Sabers went 0-14-0 midway through the 2014-15 season .
“We have to face the facts and face them and accept them,” said interim Buffalo coach Don Granato. ” That’s not embarassing. It’s not, ”It’s horrible. It’s finding a way to do what you can take control of. And that’s how you go. We don’t want to dwell. ”
Carter Hutton started and made two saves before leaving 2:51 in the game after Rangers’ Julien Gauthier slipped into him while being pushed by Sabers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Dustin Tokarski, called up from the taxi team earlier today, arrived and finished with 33 saves in his first NHL appearance since October 28, 2016.
As the Sabers trailed 3-1 after two periods, Cozens – back after missing four games with injury – brought them down to one point by taking a pass from Sam Reinnhart and beating Kinkaid at 1:09 from the third.
Skinner equalized at 4:22 on a breakaway after a roll by the Rangers as he skated in the middle of the ice and shot into the upper left corner for his third.
“They came out and didn’t lower their heads,” Granato said. “Even until the end, they believed. They kept a pace that showed you they believe. … The body language was excellent and must continue. ”
Kreider put New York back in the lead just 1:25 later with his second power play goal of the night as he hit Strome’s rebound shot out of the air and passed Tokarski for his 16th.
The Sabers shot Tokarski for an additional skater with about 1:20 to go, and Kakko added an empty net with 57.7 seconds to go for his second of the night and fourth of the season to seal the victory.
“They just look very resilient and nothing’s bothering them right now,” said interim coach Kris Knoblauch, who spent his fourth game in a row behind the bench as Rangers coaching staff are out due to the COVID-19 protocol. “We had a 3-1 lead, the guys could have been upset and really worried, playing tight, but they didn’t. They just kept playing. ”
Skinner had two chances early in the second period, but Kinkaid made sprawling saves on both attempts.
Asplund gave the Sabers a 1-0 lead at 3:52 of a second. Standing on the left side of the net as Riley Sheahan sent the puck from behind the cage towards him, Asplund knocked it over with his skate and quickly put it in while Kinkaid looked for it on the other side. It was Asplund’s second goal in six games this season.
Kakko equalized at 7:13 after securing a assist from Panarin, then hit the rebound with his own shot for the 20-year-old’s first goal since Jan. 22, ending a 19-game drought.
“It’s always nice to score a goal, but after a long time it’s even better,” said Kakko.
The Rangers had a 5-to-3 advantage for 19 seconds on overlapping penalties against Sabers defensemen Rasmus Dahlin and Jacob Bryson. Seconds before the expiration of the first penalty, Kreider deflected a Panarin pass in the upper right corner with 9:21 left in the second.
Fox, in his 100th game in the NHL, went 3-1 with 1:42 left on a Rangers run as he hit the rebound with a Mika Zibanejad shot for his third.
“It’s a special accomplishment to even play a game in the NHL. Glad to play 100 here and have my parents and brother come to most of the games, ”Fox said. “It’s really special to me. I’m glad we got the win. ”
The Sabers went 0 for 2 on the power play, dropping to 0 for 21 in their last 13 games.
The Rangers were 2 for 3 with the man advantage, improving to 4 for 13 in their last four games. Buffalo has surrendered eight goals in their opponents’ 21 power plays in the past seven games.
Kreider has 173 career goals, overtaking Anders Hedberg for 20th place on the franchise list.
Tokarski was called up to support Hutton two days after Buffalo treated G Jonas Johansson in Colorado for a sixth round draft pick in 2021. G Linus Ullmark, sidelined with a lower body injury since Feb. 27, is with the team on its four-game trip.
The Sabers also recalled Asplund from the taxi team earlier today.
Strome had seven assists and eight points in a six-game streak in points. He also has assists in a career record five times. … Panarin has 12 assists and 18 points in 15 career games against the Sabers. … Kreider has 10 goals and 14 points in 22 games against Buffalo.
Sabers: To the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night to open a two-game series.
Rangers: at the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night to open a two-game series.