Puck Drop: 7:00 PM | Key Bank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter
Know Your Opponent
New York Rangers
Record: (24-24-8) | 56 points
Last 10: 5-4-1
Division Ranking: 7th in the Metropolitan Division
Conference Ranking: T-12th in the Eastern Conference
PP: 11th (21.4%)
PK: 25th (77.7%)
What to Watch
1. Don’t Underestimate Your Opponent
Despite their sub-par record this season, the Rangers’ play has improved a bit as of late. Eight of their last 10 games have been decided by just one goal. That stretch includes victories over strong opponents like the Boston Bruins (twice) and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sabres have a great opportunity to secure two points tonight, but they mustn't look ahead to the three-game road stretch that begins this weekend.
2. Ice Time and Player Deployment
As Chad outlined in his article yesterday, Jack Eichel has been getting more defensive zone opportunities as of late in favor of “Swiss army knife” Vladimir Sobotka. We’ll see if that trend continues tonight as it appears that Phil Housley has finally caught onto the fact that Sobotka’s perceived strengths aren’t exactly... strong.
3. Rangers Struggling in Net
This season, the Rangers’ netminder tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev have struggles, posting save-percentages of .907 and .905, respectively. Georgiev is the confirm starter for New York tonight. In the 23-year-old’s only career start against Buffalo last season, he stopped 44 of 45 shots-faced in his team’s 5-1 victory. Hopefully the Sabres have an easier time of solving the young Bulgarian this time around.
4. Mittelstadt Back in Action?
Rookie centerman, Casey Mittelstadt missed the Sabres’ last game against the New York Islanders with what was reportedly a lower-body injury. The 20-year-old was back skating at practice yesterday, but did not participate in line rushes.
Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Jason Pominville
Conor Sheary - Evan Rodrigues / Casey Mittelstadt - Sam Reinhart
C.J. Smith - Vladimir Sobotka- Tage Thompson
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo
Marco Scandella - Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin - Matt Hunwick
Jake McCabe - Lawrence Pilut
Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (unconfirmed)
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey - Kevin Hayes - Pavel Buchnevich
Vladislav Namestnikov - Ryan Strome - Jesper Fast
Filip Chytil - Boo Nieves- Connor Brickley
Marc Staal - Neal Pionk
Brady Skjei - Adam McQuaid
Brendan Smith - Kevin Shattenkirk
Starting Goaltender: Alexandar Georgiev (confirmed)