NEW YORK – The Buffalo Sabres are used to losing to the New York Rangers. This one, however, was really bad.
After Buffalo failed to score early, the Rangers scored at will. They pounced on the Sabres, scoring five times on their opening 15 shots to roll to a 5-1 victory Saturday. The Rangers have won 13 of the last 16 games in the series.
Buffalo, of course, can't beat anyone. The Sabres have lost four straight games to fall to 23-40-12.
Jimmy Vesey beat up his "old team," scoring twice and adding an assist. The Sabres acquired the rights to Vesey two summers ago, but the forward signed with the Rangers. He has 17 goals.
No shutout: Sabres right wing Sam Reinhart ruined the shutout bid of Rangers rookie goaltender Alexandar Georgiev with 4:34 to play. Reinhart tipped Kyle Okposo's point shot for his 20th goal of the year. Georgiev was playing just his ninth NHL game.
The Sabres have been blanked in 10 of their last 12 periods.
He shoots, he doesn't score: The Sabres bombarded Georgiev from the drop of the puck. They rolled to a 14-3 shot advantage through eight minutes. They had a 21-10 lead through one period.
The Rangers gladly scored the only two goals.
On the board: Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was content to shove Chris Kreider behind the Buffalo net, then watched as Kreider skated to the front to easily deposit a pass from Mika Zibanejad with 3:31 left in the first. Ristolainen came back to knock Kreider to the ice after the puck was in the net.
Caught cheating: It appeared the Sabres were going to clear the defensive zone, so a few players took a step away from the net. It was a mistake. Vesey remained behind everyone, including defenseman Casey Nelson, and beat goaltender Robin Lehner with 1:58 left in the first.
Three more: The Sabres outshot the Rangers in the second period, too, though by a leaner 9-7 margin. Once again, New York was the only team to score. It built its lead to 5-0 and chased Lehner in the process.
Rush: The Rangers opened a 3-0 lead on a four-on-three rush. Vesey fed Neal Pionk for a one-timer, and the defenseman buried his first NHL goal. Pionk extended his point streak to seven games, matching the franchise record for longest run by a rookie defenseman. It was set by Brian Leetch in 1988-89.
Farewell: New York scored its fourth goal on its 12th shot, sending Lehner to the bench for backup Linus Ullmark. Zibanejad connected on his power-play chance with 8:45 gone in the second.
Another power-play goal: The Rangers made it 5-0 on another goal by Vesey. He got loose in the slot and put a low shot past Ullmark and off the post with 5:13 remaining in the second.
Same faces, different places: Coach Phil Housley dressed the same 20 players, scratching forward Justin Bailey and defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Justin Falk. The forward lines looked different, however.
Jack Eichel centered for left wing Zemgus Girgensons and right wing Kyle Okposo. Ryan O'Reilly was in the middle of Scott Wilson and Sam Reinhart. Johan Larsson was between Jordan Nolan and Jason Pominville. Evan Rodrigues centered for Benoit Pouliot and Nick Baptiste.
Back at center ice: U.S. sled hockey Olympian Luke McDermott, who took part in a ceremonial faceoff Friday in Buffalo, dropped a puck Saturday in New York. The Rangers saluted McDermott and teammate Jack Wallace for winning the gold medal in South Korea.
Salute: During a second-intermission commercial, the Rangers played a tribute video to longtime media mogul Stan Fischler, who is retiring from MSG Network after the season. He saw his first hockey game in 1939.
Next: The Sabres hopped on their charter after the game and flew to Toronto, where they'll face the Maple Leafs on Monday night. Buffalo will return home to host Detroit on Thursday in the penultimate home game of the season.