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Lundqvist and Rangers take down Sabres
Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Armed with a new contract extension, Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves on Thursday night and the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1.
Lundqvist, after agreeing to a seven-year contract extension on Wednesday, was working on his third shutout of the season when his failed clear led to a late Buffalo goal.
Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Rangers, who have won three straight and seven of their last nine games against the Sabres.
Lundqvist was back on the ice after Cam Talbot made two straight starts in net.
Tyler Ennis scored Buffalo's only goal with 2:06 remaining on a close shot that beat Lundqvist up high. The Sabres fell to 1-6-1 in their last eight games and Ryan Miller suffered his NHL-worst 16th loss, giving up three goals on 31 shots.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called the struggling Sabres "a hard-working team" and said it wasn't easy for his club.
"There wasn't a lot of room," said Vigneault. "They play a really solid defensive game and we made them pay in the first period with a controlled breakout."
Miller did what he could against Nash but was beaten by a strong move.
Nash got the puck in stride along the left boards after a tip-pass from Derek Stepan at center ice and faked a deke to his backhand, instead sliding the puck in between Miller's right skate and the near post to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 2:13 left in the first period.
Miller said he expected Nash to make a good move.
"I've seen him play enough," said Miller. "I should have had it."
Miller used his left shoulder to get a piece of Zuccarello's shot in the final minute of the second period, sending it clanking off the crossbar. He had 12 saves in the period and Lundqvist made seven.
Lundqvist stopped Cody Hodgson on a breakaway in the third period, getting his right pad out on the backhand deke, and the Rangers took a 2-0 lead after Hodgson went off for tripping soon after.
Richards scored 1:18 into the man-advantage on a sharp-angle shot from the low right side with 11:31 remaining in the game.
Lundqvist made a shoulder save to knock a tipped shot just over the crossbar, and Zuccarello beat Miller's glove with a wrister from the left circle to make it 3-0 with 5:13 left.
"That was a terrible goal, the third one," said Miller. "I didn't trust myself and where I was."
The Rangers will start a nine-game homestand Saturday against the New Jersey Devils ... The Sabres play at Montreal on Saturday.
12/05 22:58:20 ET