Kaleta nets rebound in OT as Sabres beat Rangers
NEW YORK -- Overtime has suddenly become Miller Time. Ryan Miller is now living up to the catch phrase he wasn't allowed to display on his Olympic mask.
The Buffalo goalie made 35 saves and was the beneficiary of Patrick Kaleta's goal 2:22 into overtime that gave the Sabres a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday night.
Buffalo has won two straight, both in extra time. Miller was also in goal Friday night when the Sabres topped Philadelphia. He has shown no negative effects of the overtime goal Sidney Crosby scored to lift Canada to a gold medal win over the United States at the Vancouver Olympics.
The Sabres broke an 0-6-2 skid away from Buffalo. They have never lost nine consecutive road games. It appeared overtime wouldn't be necessary this time when Adam Mair broke a scoreless deadlock with 5:57 left in regulation, but Brandon Dubinsky tied it for New York with 1:23 remaining.
"It was disappointing giving that goal up to get to overtime, but then my roommate put one home," Miller said.
The excitable Kaleta has made a habit of sticking it to the Rangers. Although he has scored only 16 goals in his NHL career, Kaleta netted a pair in Buffalo's previous visit to New York -- a 3-2 victory on Dec. 12 in which he scored the winner.
Kaleta has made a name for himself with elaborate celebrations, dropping to a knee and twirling his arm. Miller joined in on the joy, raising up his arms and flashing a wide smile.
"He has a trademark thing going now," Miller said. "He's done it a few times in Madison Square Garden. I'm sure the fans here aren't loving it too much, but we're having fun with it."
Kaleta earned a rare overtime shift and banked in a rebound off goalie Henrik Lundqvist to give the Sabres just their third win in 11 games (3-6-2).
"That's awesome," Kaleta said. "I think maybe I had one shift in overtime besides tonight this year. But when I'm called upon, I've got to perform. That's part of my role evolving."
Kaleta has scored a career-high nine goals this season. He had no explanation for his prowess on Broadway.
"I don't know, but I like it," he said. "Some buildings you feel better than others."
Dubinsky rescued the Rangers from a second shutout in two days when he crashed the net and scored his 16th goal to make it 1-1 with 1:23 remaining. New York had gone 149 minutes, 30 seconds without a goal, dating to the second period of a 5-4 home loss in overtime to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
It was enough to give the Rangers a much-needed point in the standings, but not enough to prevent New York's losing streak from reaching three (0-1-2). New York is ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Boston with 16 games left.
"We needed the two points. We got one," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We have to keep on fighting. That is all we can do."
Mair had been back on the ice for only 16 seconds following his holding penalty when he scored his fourth of the season, but second in two games for the Sabres.
Miller outdueled Lundqvist, who stopped 30 shots in a matchup of Olympic goalies.
Lundqvist was under less pressure than in his previous appearance two games earlier when he faced 55 shots in the loss to Pittsburgh. That effort earned him a night off Saturday when the Rangers were shut out 2-0 at Washington, despite the return of Marian Gaborik from injury.
Gaborik, who missed all but 4 minutes of New York's three games before the Olympic break because a deep cut in his thigh, injured a groin while playing for Slovakia in Vancouver. That ailment forced him to sit out the Rangers' first two games after NHL play resumed this week.
Gaborik logged over 20 minutes Saturday, but was largely ineffective according to Tortorella. Gaborik had to convince Tortorella during pregame warmups he was ready to play -- physically and mentally -- to keep his place in the lineup.
New York scored 17 goals during Gaborik's absence but the offensive surge abruptly ended when the top-line forward returned.
"We have to step up the game. That's just the bottom line," Gaborik said. "We can't win with one goal even though we got a point."
Newly acquired Sabres LW Raffi Torres had a career-best, six-game point streak snapped. ... Rangers C Brian Boyle played in his 100th NHL game. ... New York is 1-1-1 against Buffalo this season, dropping both meetings at home. ... The Sabres have scored two goals or fewer in 10 of 15 games.
Regular Season Series
BUF leads 2-1
- Bill McCreary
- Dan O'Rourke
- Scott Driscoll
- Jonny Murray