NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Vesey had two goals and an assist, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 43 shots, and the New York Rangers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 Saturday night.
Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Neal Pionk each added a goal and an assist as the Rangers completed a sweep of the three-game season series and improved to 13-3-0 in the last 16 meetings with the Sabres.
Sam Reinhart spoiled Geogiev’s shutout bid with 4 1/2 minutes remaining for the Sabres, who have lost four straight. Robin Lehner gave up four goals on 12 shots before being replaced near the midpoint of the second period. Linus Ullmark came on and stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced.
Kreider and Vesey each scored in the first before Pionk got his first NHL goal early in the second and Zibanejad made it 4-0 with his team-leading 27th at 8:45 of the second. It gave the Rangers goals on four consecutive shots for the first time since Jan. 3, 2015, also against the Sabres, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Georgiev, starting for fifth time in six games, made 21 saves in the first period, nine in the second and 13 more in the third.
The Sabres outshot the Rangers 21-10 in the first period but it was Kreider opening the scoring with 3:31 left with his 15th of the season with assists to linemates Zibanejad and Jesper Fast. The line has totaled 25 points in last five games.
Zibanejad has 12 points in his last seven games including seven goals. Kreider has a five-game points streak with three goals and seven assists. Fast has an eight-game point streak with three goals and seven assists over the span.
Vesey made it 2-0 with just under two minutes remaining. Mats Zuccarello had an assist for his team-leading 50th point.
Pionk scored his milestone goal at 3:59 of the middle period, extending his points streak to seven games. He has a goal and nine assi0sts during the stretch. The 22-year-old defenseman was recalled from Hartford of the AHL last month and has 14 points overall.
Vesey’s 17th made it 5-0 with 5:13 left in the second.
The Rangers are 6-4-3 since trading Rick Nash to Boston, and captain Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to Tampa Bay as part of a promised purge of top players. Though they will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010, they have played with renewed energy since the deals were made.
NOTES: The Rangers also defeated Buffalo 3-2 in overtime in the Winter Classic at Citi Field — which was considered a home game for the Sabres — on New Year’s Day, and won 4-3 at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 18. … The Rangers again scratched G Henrik Lundqvist after he was shaken up in a collision last Tuesday against Columbus. … The Rangers also scratched F David Desharnais. … Buffalo scratched F Jacob Josefson, F Justin Bailey, D Justin Falk and D Nathan Beaulieu.
Rangers: Host Washington on Monday.
Sabres: Visit Toronto on Monday.
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