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Sabres back on the road against the Rangers

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Buffalo is 2-2-2 against their cross-state rivals this season

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 49

Buffalo Sabres (13-28-7) vs. New York Rangers (24-18-6)

Puck Drop: 6:00 PM EST | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY

TV: MSG-B, NESN

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter

Know Your Opponent

New York Rangers

Record: 24-18-6

Last 10: 6-3-1

Division Ranking: 5th in the East

PP: 14th (20.5%)

PK: 4th (84.1%)

What To Watch

1. Tokarski Back In Net

After receiving a night off to take in Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s NHL debut, Dustin Tokarski will return to the starter’s crease this evening. The 2020-21 season has been a surprising one for the 31-year-old AHL journeyman.

In his last five contests as the de facto starter (with Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton both sidelined due to injury), he has performed well. In fact, last week he was named the NHL’s first star of the week.

In five of his last six starts, he’s posted a .927 or better save-percentage in five of them.

2. Standings Watch?

About a month ago, the Sabres looked like a lock to finish dead-last in the NHL standings. After Ralph Krueger’s ousting, Buffalo ahs posted a (more) respectable record of 7-11-2. Since ending their league-record 18-game losing streak, the blue-and-gold have gone 7-5-2.

As it stands, Buffalo has a very slim grasp on the last-place position. With 33 standings points, they trail the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks by one and two points, respectively.

With just eight games remaining on the schedule, there’s a good chance the Sabres could pass a handful of teams. Draft position be darned, let with wins continue.

Projected Lineup

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Sam Reinhart - Victor Olofsson

Rasmus Asplund - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson

Anders Bjork - Dylan Cozens - Arttu Ruotsalainen

Tobias Rieder - Riley Sheahan - Drake Caggiula

Defensemen

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jacob Bryson - Colin Miller

Starting Goalie: Dustin Tokarski

New York Rangers

Forwards

Alexis Lafreniere - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Colin Blackwell

Chris Kreider - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko

Kevin Rooney - Brett Howden - Vitali Kravtsov

Defense

Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller - Brendan Smith

Libor Hajek - Zac Jones

Starting Goalie: Igor Shesterkin