NEW YORK (AP) — Derick Brassard scored two goals, set up crucial third-period tallies by J.T. Miller and Mats Zuccarello and finished with a career-best five points while the New York Rangers blew a two-goal lead and came back to beat Buffalo 6-3 Monday night for their eighth straight win over the Sabres.
Miller snapped a tie, Zuccarello added a power-play goal and Brassard scored into an empty net after the Sabres made it 3-3 to allow the Rangers to head into the NHL All-Star break with three wins in four games.
Rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath and Viktor Stalberg also scored for the Rangers.
Zemgus Girgensons scored twice in a 1:13 span early in the third period to rally Buffalo from a 3-1 deficit. It was his first game after missing four with an upper-body injury.
Brian Gionta also scored for Buffalo, which lost its third straight game overall. Rookie Jack Eichel assisted on both of Girgensons’ goals.
This is the Sabres’ first eight-game losing streak against the Rangers. They play in Ottawa on Tuesday night in their final game before the break.
Girgensons stunned the Rangers and the Madison Square Garden crowd with his quick scores, which wiped out a lead that came courtesy of Stalberg and Brassard.
Girgensons snapped a shot in close past Henrik Lundqvist at 4:31 and he beat the goaltender with a backhander on a breakaway at 5:44.
A minute later Miller put New York ahead for good with his fifth goal in the last six games. Jesper Fast sent a cross-ice pass from the right circle that tipped off the stick of a Sabres’ defenseman and gave Miller a shot at an open net against a defenseless Chad Johnson.
Zuccarello increased the lead to 5-3 less than 3 minutes later, one-timing a cross-ice pass from Derek Stepan on New York’s fourth power play. Brassard added his second goal in the final minute, scoring into an empty net.
Stalberg had given New York a 2-1 lead with a spinning shot late in the second period and Brassard scored when Fast’s pass deflected off his skate and in.
The Rangers outshot the Sabres 9-7 in the first period and had the better of the play, but left the ice tied 1-all.
Gionta tied the game with 3:47 left in the period, deflecting a fluttering pass from the left circle by Marcus Foligno past a startled Lundqvist.
McIlrath, who got into the lineup with Dan Boyle getting a night off, gave the Rangers the lead with a hard shot from the left circle at 5:58. The goal was originally credited to Miller, but it was changed in the second period.
NOTES: This was the first of three games between the teams this season. … Rangers F Rick Nash missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Boyle was a healthy scratch after playing in the last 24 games. … The Rangers have a five-game point streak at home (4-0-1). … This was Rangers coach Alain Vigneault’s 1,019th game, tying him with Pat Burns for 19th place in NHL history. … Sabres F Evander Kane played in his 400th NHL game. … Eichel has five goals and 13 assists in his last 17 games.