Sabres Visit Rangers in Must-Win Matchup
Buffalo needs to beat the Blueshirts to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Buffalo Sabres (39-32-7) vs. New York Rangers (47-21-12)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST Madison Square Garden New York, NY
Know Your Opponent
New York Rangers
Last Game: 4-0 shutout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets
Division Ranking: 3rd in the Metropolitan Division
PP: 23.65% (9th)
PK: 80.91% (13th)
What to Watch
1. Can Sabres Beat Rangers in April?
The Blue and Gold cling to slim wild card playoff hopes and have to prevail against the Rangers at the Garden to move on to any possible postseason. New York was the victor in most of their recent meetings with Buffalo, winning six of their last eight games.
However, the Sabres beat the Rangers in their last matchup, with a 3-2 overtime win. Since the past three games between these opponents all went to OT, Buffalo needs to play 60 minutes of strong, aggressive hockey to keep the hosts from getting two points.
2. Both Teams Healthy, Should be a Close Contest
Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson is expected to be out until at least the day of the game, while the Rangers have nobody on IR, according to Cbssports. With two healthy sides, this matchup should be hard fought and evenly matched until the final whistle blows.
Whoever wins this one will be the side that wants it the most. If Buffalo really hopes to end their playoff drought this season, the team will perform the way they did in Devon Levi’s debut game, playing aggressively in their opponents’ zone and shutting down New York’s offensive chances. Other NHL teams could still keep Buffalo out of the postseason regardless of tonight’s outcome, but every point in the standings counts right now.
3. Bet on the Visiting Underdogs
The Sabres head into this meeting as underdogs, but you’ll get great value betting on them, according to Carol Schram of Action Network.com. Sabres coach Don Granato has been coy about who starts in net for Buffalo, but Schram thinks it’ll be Devon Levi. Levi already has a 3-1-0 win record and 2.0 goals saved above expected.
Also, previously injured players including Rasmus Dahlin and Tage Thompson are healthy and playing great hockey. The Rangers are tough adversaries, but Schram believes the Sabres will play desperately, giving it all they’ve got to try to make a playoff run. Wager on Buffalo and enjoy a big payout if they win.
Jeff Skinner – Casey Mittelstadt – Alex Tuch
Jordan Greenway – Dylan Cozens – Tage Thompson
JJ Peterka – Tyson Jost – Jack Quinn
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Riley Stillman – Ilya lyubushkin
Goaltenders: Devon Levi (likely), Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Eric Comrie
New York Rangers
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kaako
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Patrick Kane
Artemi Panarin – Vicent Trocheck – Vladimir Tarasenko
Jimmy Vesey – Barclay Goodrow – Tyler Motte
Adam Fox -Ryan Lindgren
Jacob Trouba – K'Andre Miller
Braden Schneider – Niko Mikkola
Goaltenders: Igor Shesterkin (likely), Jaroslav Halak