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Sabres need two to draw even with Rangers

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Rangers give Sabres first chance to climb the ladder

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 55

Buffalo Sabres (23-23-8) vs. New York Rangers (26-22-4)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter

Know Your Opponent

New York Rangers

Record: (26-22-4) | 56 PTS

Last 10: 6-4-0

Division Ranking: 7th in Metropolitan Division

Conference Ranking: 12th in Eastern Conference

PP: 7th (23.3%)

PK: 23rdh (77.8%)

What to Watch

1. Make the jump

The waning hope that the team has for the playoffs gets dimmer with each game, making every night as important as the last, and as important as the next. It starts again tonight with a matchup against a club directly above them in the standings. The Rangers lead the Sabres by two points, and though they have a couple of games in hand, it’s obviously imperative to start the climb now and get even in the standings.

2. Take advantage

In last night’s loss, the Sabres failed to connect on the power play. That can’t happen here. New York is nearly as bad as the Sabres are on the penalty kill. The Sabres are 21 in the league on the power play. This is an aspect of the game that Buffalo needs to improve on immediately if there are any hopes of moving up.

3. Get it together

The loss against Detroit was embarrassing in many ways. One of them was how disorganized they looked. The game was as unclean as it could have been. It’s unlikely the team can get things cleaned up in 24 hours, but it would be fantastic to see progress - small changes that show they are coming together and beginning to understand how to play the game again.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Rasmus Asplund

Conor Sheary - Marcus Johansson - Michael Frolik

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Scott Wilson

Defense

Brandon Montour - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Henri Jokiharju

Lawrence Pilut - Colin Miller

Zach Bogosian - Rasmus Dahlin

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton (expected)

New York Rangers

Forwards

Chris Kreider - Mika Zabinejad - Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Jesper Fast

Brendan Lemiuex - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko

Phil Di Giuseppe -Greg McKegg - Brett Howden

Defense

Brady Skjei - Jacob Trouba

Marc Stahl - Anthony DeAngelo

Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox

Starting Goaltender: Alexander Georgiev