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Rangers Bounce Sabres 8-4

What little playoff hopes the Sabres had entering Friday came to an with an 8-4 loss to the New York Rangers. Brad Richards notched a hat trick as Buffalo was officially eliminated from postseason contention.

Needing a regulation win to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Sabres found themselves down 3-0 after the opening period on goals by Carl Hagelin, Richards and Ryane Clowe. Clowe's goal came when Miller fanned on a pass attempt, seconds after hearing Bronx cheers from the First Niagara Center crowd. Clowe gained control of Miller's whiff and popped the puck into the net to put New York up by three.

Anton Stralman wristed a shot past Ryan Miller just 1:13 into the second, sending Miller to the bench in favor of Jhonas Enroth. Things weren't much better for the backup netminder. Enroth let in Richards' 2nd of the evening only 27 seconds later. Rick Nash found the net at 7:05, making it 6-0 Rangers. Two goals in six seconds, courtesy of Cody Hodgson and Nathan Gerbe, pulled Buffalo back within four, but Ryan Callahan converted a breakaway chance to put New York up 7-3. Drew Stafford capped a wild second period with a backhand shot that cut Buffalo's deficit to four heading into the final frame.

Richards completed his hat trick 12:32 into the third, putting the Rangers back up by five. A late power play goal by Mark Pysyk, his first in the NHL, came with 40 seconds remaining in regulation.
The loss means the Sabres will be on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs for the fourth time in six years. Buffalo will next face Winnipeg on Monday and Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Saturday's scheduled game against the Penguins was postponed in the wake of Friday's manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. The Pens and Bruins will face off at TD Garden on Saturday, after Friday's game was postponed.

1st Period

18:42 - NYR - Carl Hagelin (10) (Derek Stepan, Henrik Lundqvist)
19:39 - NYR - Brad Richards (8) (Mats Zuccarello)
19:56 - NYR - Ryane Clowe (3) (Unassisted)


2nd Period

1:13 - NYR - Anton Stralman (4) (Ryane Clowe, Rick Nash)
1:40 - NYR - Brad Richards (9) (Taylor Pyatt, John Moore)
7:05 - NYR - Rick Nash (19) (Derek Stepan)
13:50 - BUF - Cody Hodgson (PPG) (15) (Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Ennis)
13:56 - BUF - Nathan Gerbe (Unassisted)
14:28 - NYR - Ryan Callahan (12) (Unassisted)
16:19 - BUF - Drew Stafford (6) (Marcus Foligno)

12:19 - NYR - Ryan McDonagh (2 min., high-sticking)

3rd Period

12:32 - NYR - Brad Richards (10) (Ryan McDonagh)
19:20 - BUF - Mark Pysyk (PPG) (1) (Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Ennis)

3:26 - NYR - Arron Asham (2 min., hooking)
5:15 - NYR - Darroll Powe (2 min., delaying game, faceoff violation)
16:50 - BUF - Christian Ehrhoff (2 min., tripping)
18:39 - NYR - Arron Asham (2 min., interference)
NYR - Henrik Lundqvist (24 saves, 28 shots)
BUF - Jhonas Enroth (11 saves, 15 shots)
BUF - Ryan Miller (10 saves, 14 shots)

Power Plays
NYR - 0 of 1
BUF - 2 of 4

Three Stars
1.) NYR - Brad Richards (3 G, 0 A)
2.) NYR - Ryane Clowe (1 G, 1 A)
3.) NYR - Rick Nash (1 G, 1 A)

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