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Sabres look to continue improved play as they host the Rangers

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Buffalo has collected three points in their last two games after losing 18 in-a-row

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

Game 37

Buffalo Sabres (7-23-6) vs. New York Rangers (17-15-4)

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

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Rangers Blog: Blueshirt Banter

Know Your Opponent

New York Rangers

Record: 17-15-4

Last 10: 6-3-1

Division Ranking: 6th in the East

PP: 25th (17.6%)

PK: 6th (84.8%)

What to Watch

1. Ullmark Down the Stretch

Tonight, Linus Ullmark is set to return to the starter’s crease after a well deserved game off. In terms of players on expiring contracts, the 27-year-old Swede is perhaps the most intriguing on the Sabres’ ledger this summer.

In his three starts since returning from injury, Ullmark has stopped 96 0f the 108 shots he’s faced for an overall save-percentage of .923. The oft-injured starter will look to continue his strong play for the rest of the season.

If he is successful, he’ll likely command a significant raise, whether it be in Buffalo or elsewhere.

2. Reinhart Back at Center

For years, the analytics community has clamored for another opportunity to see Sam Reinhart play the center position. Last week, they got their wish as a result of the Sabres losing yet another pivot in Curtis Lazar.

In three games since his move back to the middle. Reinhart has shown well, especially when you consider the fact that he’s spent most of his time being flanked by less-than-ideal linemates in Kyle Okposo and Victor Olofsson.

After a one-game return to the right side, he’ll re-assume a centerman role tonight.

3. Fans Have Returned

The Sabres have struggled pretty much everywhere this season, but their woes have been particularly bad on home ice. Last Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers was their first win at KeyBank Center since January 30th.

Tonight will be the first night where the general public will occupy ten-percent capacity at the arena. Hopefully the blue-and-gold give them something worth watching.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Taylor Hall - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson

Victor Olofsson - Sam Reinhart - Kyle Okposo

Jeff Skinner - Riley Sheahan - Rasmus Asplund

Tobias Rieder - Cody Eakin - Steven Fogarty

Defense

Jacob Bryson - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Henri Jokiharju

Colin Miller - Brandon Montour

Starting Goalie: Linus Ullmark

New York Rangers

Forwards

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Kappo Kakko

Alexis Lafreniere - Filip Chytil - Julien Gauthier

Phil Di Giuseppe - Kevin Rooney - Colin Blackwell

Defense

Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba

Libor Hajek - Brendan Smith

Starting Goalie: Igor Shesterkin