NEW YORK - Michal Rozsival's aching left knee made the New York Rangers' best defenseman a question mark for the biggest games of the season.
He left the series opener early in Buffalo and gritted his way through Game 2 when another hit to the leg slowed him again. But Rozsival was back on the blue line for the Rangers on Sunday, and his hard drive found its way into the net in double overtime to give New York a 2-1 victory, shooting life back into the Rangers' season.
Rozsival got the puck through traffic and off the post behind screened goalie Ryan Miller 16:43 into the second overtime. That gave New York its first win over the Sabres in seven tries this season and ended the Rangers' longest game in exactly 36 years.
Buffalo still leads the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-1, but the Rangers can get even with a Game 4 victory Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
"Everybody was really tired, I guess," Rozsival said after logging a game-high 38 minutes, 16 seconds. "I was just focusing on hitting the puck, and I was lucky enough that I had a lucky shot."
It was just the type of good fortune the Rangers were seeking after dropping a pair in Buffalo. New York figured it deserved a better fate than to come home down 2-0 against the NHL's best team in the regular season.
"They have confidence. They have a game underneath their belt. We want to go up and they want to tie it up," Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell said. "It's not going to be easy."
Jaromir Jagr gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Sabres tied it late in the third when Daniel Briere finally took advantage of a slew of Buffalo power plays.
After that, it was a goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Sabres counterpart Ryan Miller. Lundqvist stopped 38 shots and became a winner when Rozsival beat Miller with the Rangers' 46th shot.
That was enough to snap the Sabres' five-winning streak against the Rangers and their five-game run overall in the playoffs against New York's Islanders and Rangers.
"It was huge," Jagr said. "I'm mad about the second one, where we lost in Buffalo. But tonight was important, and we're back."
The Rangers have won eight straight and 11 of 12 at home. They will still need to win in Buffalo and find a way to string wins together against the Sabres, who haven't had a losing streak since a three-game skid in early March.
Each team had chances in the lengthy overtime. New York had three power plays, and Buffalo had two after going 1-for-7 in regulation.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Corey Perry scored the go-ahead goal on a power play 7:51 into the third period as Anaheim recovered from a double-overtime loss at home in Game 2 with a victory.
Francois Beauchemin and Dustin Penner also scored, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 24 saves, including three in the final seconds, as the Ducks took a 2-1 lead in the series.
Special teams were the difference for the Ducks, who killed off seven of eight Vancouver power plays - including a pair of lengthy 5-on-3 advantages - and converted two of their four chances at the other end.
Anaheim limited the Canucks to two shots during a two-man advantage for 1:22 early in the third period, and had just killed off Perry's hooking penalty without giving up a shot before scoring the winning goal. With Alexandre Burrows off for shooting the puck out of play, Perry sent a shot through a screen and between the legs of Roberto Luongo.
Markus Naslund and Daniel Sedin scored, and Luongo made 21 saves for the Canucks, who have already bounced back from a 5-1 loss in Game 1 and can tie the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at home on Tuesday night.
comments powered by Disqus