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Preview: Sabres and Rangers Meet in the Annual NHL Winter Classic

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Sabres and Rangers will meet outdoors at Citi Field for the 10th anniversary of the Winter Classic

NHL: Winter Classic-Practice Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Game #39

Buffalo Sabres (10-20-8) vs. New York Rangers (20-13-5)

Puck drop: 1:00 p.m. EST | Citi Field | Flushing, NY


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Rangers blog: Blueshirt Banter

What to Watch

1. 10th Anniversary

On this day 10 years ago the Buffalo Sabres played in the first Winter Classic at then Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today the Sabres are back in the annual NHL classic as the home team away from home.

2. Eichel has found his groove.

Jack Eichel is starting to pile up the points. The Sabres star center has 13 points in his last 10 games (seven goals and six assists). He’ll have the opportunity to showcase his hot streak on one of the bigger national stages.

3. Cooling Down

Evander Kane has hit his first cold spell of the season after a blazing start. He has only two goals in his last 10 games. Perhaps not coincidentally he hasn’t seen a lot of time on Eichel’s wing as of late as well.

4. The Sweaters

The Rangers and Sabres will both be wearing some pretty awesome sweaters for the game tonight.

5. Team USA Rosters

Stay tuned after the game if you’re interested as the men’s Team USA Olympic roster will be announced.

Know Your Opponent

1. King Henrik

Henrik Lundqvist is back to being the king of New York this season. He has a .922 save percentage and 2.58 goals against average to go along with his 17 wins. Goals won’t come easy for the Sabres today.

2. Don’t sleep on Pavel.

We’re used to seeing Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider at the top of the Rangers point leaders. While Zuccarello leads the team in points, Nash is near the middle of the pack and the Rangers will be without Kreider who is out a few months with a blood clot in his arm. The name at the top we’re not used to seeing is Pavel Buchnevich. The 22-year-old has 11 goals and 25 points in 38 games.

3. Jimmy Vesey

Of course, we have to check up on former Sabres prospect Jimmy Vesey. The former Harvard University forward has eight goals and 15 points in 38 games. After a slow start he’s starting to pick it up with three points in the last five games

Projected Lineup

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart

9 Evander Kane - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo

67 Benoit Pouliot - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 29 Jason Pominville

22 Johan Larsson - 10 Jacob Josefson - 17 Jordan Nolan

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

19 Jake McCabe - 47 Zach Bogosian

82 Nathan Beaulieu - 41 Justin Falk

Starting Goaltender: 40 Robin Lehner