Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Rangers Preview: Sabres back in action after four days off

In their first game in five days, the refreshed Sabres will be the first team to take on the newly extended Henrik Lundqvist and the NY Rangers.

After their longest break of the season (outside of the Olympics) the Buffalo Sabres return to action tonight against the New York Rangers.

One day after making national news thanks to Henrik Lundqvist's massive contract extension, and a debate just as large about whether or not it was worth it, the Rangers new made man will face the Sabres, where he will undoubtedly live up to his gaudy extension. Buffalo ranks 30th in the NHL in goals per game, and is currently challenging an historically bad season in that regard.

Brayden McNabb rejoined the team after earning first star honors in Rochester last night, but will for some reason ride the bench in favor of Jamie McBain. Cody McCormick also returns to the ice, and Matt D'Agostini may or may not play - he missed practice yesterday because of sickness. No word on whether or not it was viral, or from watching the power play practice (*rim shot).

Game #29

Buffalo Sabres (6-20-2) vs. New York Rangers (14-14-0)

Puck Drop - 7:00pm EST - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
- MSG | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Rangers Blog
- Blueshirt Banter

Three Questions

1. How good will King Henrik's new contract look after this game?
Amazingly, Buffalo has scored one goal or less in half of their games this season, and they're facing one of the best goaltenders in the league tonight in Lundqvist. I think the odds of a shutout are about 50/50.

2. With four days in between games and extended practice time, will any specific area of the team look significantly different/stronger?
The Sabres need help in almost every area, and over the break we read how they worked on skating with coach Dawn Braid, defensive play and communication, and getting bodies to the net. Will we see any marked improvement?

3. Will the Sabres come ready to play in the first period?
All season, Buffalo has struggled to get their sea legs during the first period, being outscored approximately 10,000-2 in the opening stanza. They just had for days off, so there's no excuse physically to not come out and play hard right from the opening whistle.

Projected BUF Lines

Matt MoulsonCody HodgsonDrew Stafford
Matt D'Agostini - Ville Leino - Steve Ott
Zemgus Girgensons - Tyler Ennis Luke Adam
Marcus FolignoBrian FlynnCody McCormick

Christian Ehrhoff Mark Pysyk
Henrik TallinderTyler Myers
Jamie McBain - Mike Weber

Goal: Ryan Miller

Scratches/Injuries: McNabb, Scott, Grigorenko, Sulzer

Projected NYR Lines

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash
Mats Zuccarello - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Derick Brassard - Benoit Pouliot
Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Taylor Pyatt

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
John Moore - Michael Del Zotto

Goal: Henrik Lundqvist