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Preview: Sabres host the Rangers in a rematch

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Sabres look for third straight win

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Game 8

Buffalo Sabres (3-3-1) vs. New York Rangers (1-4-1)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Key Bank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter

Know Your Opponent

New York Rangers

Record: (1-4-1) | 3 PTS

Division Ranking: 8th in East Division

PP: 21st (15.4%)

PK: 26th (70.0%)

1. First Sweep?

With baseball style scheduling that includes many mini “series” matchups against division foes, sweeping these series throughout the season could be the key to leapfrogging your way up the standings. The Sabres have a chance to get their first sweep tonight against the division’s current bottom dweller. Every point will prove crucial, so coming away with two here seem almost necessary.

2. Can the Powerplay Stay Hot?

After going two for four in Tuesday’s game, the powerplay looks to capitalize again on the league’s 26th-ranked penalty kill. The Sabres are now over 30% with the man advantage this season, vaulting them to 8th in the entire NHL.

3. Converting Expected Goals To Actual Goals

The Sabres undoubtedly controlled play at even-strength for the majority of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers. This is not a new concept to the club so far in 2021, as they are currently sixth in the NHL in shot attempt share and fourth in expected goals differential at five on five play.

Despite this, they were actually outscored at even-strength by the Rangers after only managing one goal. That even-strength goal, by the way, was a shorthanded rush that Tobias Rieder finished just after the penalty expired.

Jeff Skinner leads the way in the “due for a goal” category, but he is not alone. Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, and Rasmus Dahlin all have yet to score at even-strength. Buffalo cannot lean solely on the powerplay all season, so they’ll have to get their top guns finding the twine if they want to find sustained success.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Taylor Hall - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Victor Olofsson - Eric Staal - Dylan Cozens

Tobias Rieder - Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo

Jeff Skinner - Curtis Lazar - Riley Sheahan

Defense

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller

Matt Irwin - Brandon Montour

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark

New York Rangers

Forwards

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Phil Di Giuseppe

Alexis Lafreniere - Brett Howden - Kaapo Kakko

Brendan Lemieux - Kevin Rooney - Colin Blackwell

Defense

K’Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba

Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox

Jack Johnson - Tony DeAngelo

Starting Goaltender: Igor Shesterkin