Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Mackenzie Skapski's NHL debut looked to be a disaster as Buffalo scored only 14 seconds in, but he ended up with 24 saves while Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello added second-period markers and New York topped the Sabres, 3-1, at First Niagara Center.
Skapski became the first Rangers netminder to win a league debut since Dan Cloutier on Jan. 3, 1998 (3-2 vs. WAS) and youngest since Dan Blackburn on March 22, 2003 (2-1 at PHI).
"I think I was fighting pucks in the first period, and the second and third I was pretty calm, cool and collected," Skapski admitted. "I was super-pumped. It's my dad's birthday today and couldn't have scripted it better."
Carl Hagelin posted a first-period goal for the Rangers, who won their fifth straight game on the road and fifth in six tries overall.
Matt Moulson supplied the lone offense for the Sabres, who were coming off a 3-2 shootout win in Philadelphia on Thursday. Michal Neuvirth was the hard- luck loser in a 40-save effort.
"That's a very good team, they got to the Stanley Cup Finals, not by accident," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said.
New York had a two-man edge for 1:45 late in the first when Zach Bogosian and Tyson Strachan were sent off 15 seconds apart, but failed to convert. It took Nash just 37 seconds into the second to give the visitors a 2-1 lead, on a one-timer from the right circle.
Nash was primed to score his second of the night on a rush from the right wing into the slot, but his shot hit the left post and caromed out to an open Zuccarello, who swept home the rebound to make it a two-goal spread at 8:05.
Skapski came up with 13 saves in the third period, including a stop of a blistering Marcus Foligno try from the right wing just prior to the six-minute mark.
Skapski was beaten on the first shot he faced, as Moulson tipped home a Torrey Mitchell centering feed only 14 seconds after the opening faceoff.
His teammates made sure the 20-year-old British Columbia native didn't have to face much of the league's most anemic attack for the remainder or carry the team on his back with key saves.
Hagelin's backhander slid through Neuvirth's legs at 5:51, though the play appeared to be offside as the Swede had trouble corralling a bouncing puck from J.T. Miller's mid-air pass at the Buffalo blue line.
Skapski, a sixth-round selection by the Rangers in 2013, was 12-7-3 with a 2.38 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 games with Hartford of the AHL before his call-up ... Moulson's marker was his 150th career goal and 300th career point ... Derick Brassard added two assists for the winning side, extending his point streak to six games.