Sabres vs. Rangers Preview: Must Win Game For Buffalo

The Sabres playoff hopes ride entirely on tonight's game - win, and they're still alive. Lose, and we can all start planning our tee times.

It's do or die time for the Buffalo Sabres, as they host the New York Rangers tonight at the First Niagara Center. After the Rangers win last night, they're now four points ahead of Buffalo with one game still in hand. The bottom line for tonight's game is: if the Sabres lose in regulation, they're officially knocked out of the playoff race. If they win, the deficit goes back down to two points.

The problem with this playoff race is that the Sabres need the Rangers to lose a whole bunch of games, because not only does Buffalo need to pull even with NY, but must pass them in points, since the abysmal 13 regulation wins the Sabres have won't break a tiebreaker with anyone except Florida. Unfortunately, all of the Rangers remaining opponents are terrible, with Buffalo, Florida, Carolina, and New Jersey twice, all of which are terrible (excluding the Sabres, who are clearly the best team in the world). Still, it all starts tonight. Win, and the dream stays alive.

Game #45

Buffalo Sabres (19-19-6) vs. New York Rangers (22-17-4)

Puck Drop - 7:00pm - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
TV - MSG | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Rangers Blog - Blueshirt Banter (Please play nice if you're going to visit.)

Projected Buffalo Lines

Vanek - Hodgson - Ennis
Flynn - Porter - Ott
Gerbe - Hecht - Kaleta
Scott - Foligno - Stafford

Ehrhoff - Sekera
Pysyk - Pardy
Weber - Ruhwedel

Goal: Ryan Miller

Scratches/Injuries: Adam, Myers, Leino, Sulzer

Projected NY Lines

Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Chris Kreider
Ryane Clowe - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Arron Asham - Darroll Powe - Taylor Pyatt

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Anton Stralman - Michael Del Zotto
Steve Eminger - John Moore

Goal: Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron