The Rangers (46-21-7) are atop the conference with 99 points, 12 points more than the second-seeded Boston Bruins. New York, which already has clinched a playoff spot, leads the Atlantic Division by one point over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Buffalo is third in the Northeast Division, five points behind Boston and ninth in the conference, 17 points behind New York.
Travis Turnbull gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead three minutes, 14 seconds into the second period last night at Madison Square Garden in New York. Brian Boyle tied the game at 1-1 six minutes later before Stafford scored his first goal with just more than six minutes to go in the period.
Rangers coach John Tortorella said Stafford’s first goal “really killed us.”
“We gave that one up when we had full control of the puck and really maybe a chance to score another goal ourselves,” he said.
Tyler Ennis and Stafford added goals in the final six minutes of the third period for the Sabres (36-29-10).
To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com