BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist returned to form on Thursday night.
Lundqvist made 27 saves to lead the New York Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, one day after signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension.
"It was weird because it was such a big day yesterday, an emotional day for me," Lundqvist said.
"And obviously it's a proud moment for me to realize they're willing to commit to me and I want to commit to them. But at the same time, I just couldn't be super happy because you want more wins."
The contract will make him the NHL's highest-paid goalie.
Lundqvist was hardly troubled through 40 minutes, but was outstanding in the third period. He made 13 saves in the game's final 20 minutes, including consecutive breakaway stops on Cody Hodgson and Steve Ott.
"He made some really big saves," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, whose team improved to 15-14. "He's an elite goaltender that comes up big at the right time and certainly helped us win tonight."
New York also got production from its star forwards, with Rick Nash and Brad Richards scoring goals.
"There were some pressure moments in the game and our big guys came up big," Vigneault said.
Mats Zuccarello also scored and added an assist as the Rangers bounced back from a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg on Monday.
Tyler Ennis scored and Ryan Miller made 28 saves in a loss that dropped the Sabres to 3-12-1 at the First Niagara Center.
Lundqvist made four quick saves in under a minute early in the period, including close-range stops on Mark Pysyk and Ott.
He then stopped two breakaways in as many minutes.
First, Hodgson used a burst of speed to earn a breakaway, but Lundqvist used his right pad to stop Hodgson's backhand attempt. Then, he stopped Ott's forehand.
"I think for a goalie you just have to be there when mistakes happen," Lundqvist said. "They're gonna happen and I felt like they were taking more chances in the third to kind of get going so I knew I had to be ready, but it felt really good."
Ennis spoiled Lundqvist's shutout bid at the 17:54 mark of the third, the Sabres' first goal on Lundqvist in 118 minutes of play.
New York opened the scoring on a highlight-reel goal from Nash.
Derek Stepan tapped Ryan McDonagh's two-line pass to Nash at the Sabres' blue line. Nash darted past Tyler Myers, drawing Miller across the goal before reaching back to tuck the puck around the goaltender's right skate and into the net.