Tonight the Buffalo Sabres play host to the New York Rangers. The Rangers are struggling as of late, going 2-2-1 in their last five. The potential that Chris Drury and Scott Gomez were supposed to have brought the Rangers has not been fulfilled. If the Rangers make the playoffs, their abilities may prove fruitful.
The Sabres are struggling as well, going 2-3 in their last five, embarassing losses to Carolina and Ottawa, and a close loss that looks bad on paper to Philadelphia.
Even with their recent struggles, the Sabres are still in the hunt for the playoffs, anchoring the Eastern Conference playoff teams. A regulation win tonight for the Sabres will propel them into a tie with the Rangers, right in the middle of the playoff pack.
The key for the Sabres is to strike fast and often. A lack of offense for the sputtering club could mean another early exit from the season. Without the star power of Thomas Vanek in the lineup, the Sabres are going to need guys like Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville to really step up their games. On any other team these guys would be trade bait at the deadline for a team heading into the playoffs, the Sabres however have signed them as cornerstones of this team, and won’t part with them, even if it means oontending this year.