2006_01_sstrudwick.jpgThis is a game that may come back to haunt the Rangers later in the season. Facing Buffalo, which was two points behind them in the conference standings, the Rangers came out flat and played a sloppy game falling 2-1 to the Sabres. The news was not all good for Buffalo’ which lost their leading scorer, Tim Connolly’ to a knee injury after a hit by Darius Kasparaitis that some felt was a dirty play.

Despite their uninspired effort, the Rangers were kept in the game by another great performance from Henrik Lundqvist and a nice goal by Jaromir Jagr off of the power play. However, a terrible turnover in the defensive zone by Marek Malik gave Ales Kotalik an easy opportunity, which he banged home for the winning goal. The Rangers had a few more chances, but Ville Nieminen took a terrible penalty with less than two minutes in the game to seal the victory for Buffalo.

The Rangers now have five straight divisional games starting with two games against both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as well as a tilt with the Islanders on Long Island next Thursday.

Photo by Getty Images via Newsday.com