GameDay Preview: New York Rangers

After a hard-earned shootout win over the Boston Bruins last night, the Sabres are back at it again tonight. This time, they’re headed to the Big Apple to face the New York Rangers (38-15-6) in one of the most legendary arenas in a 7 p.m. match-up.

Ryan Miller was in net last night for the Sabres, but it’s unknown whether he’ll be in for consecutive starts or whether Ruff will slide Jhonas Enroth in. The Sabres didn’t practice this morning, so starters and scratches are hard to guess at this point.

For the Rangers, Martin Biron played last night in a shootout loss to the Islanders, so tonight may be Swedish star Henrik Lundqvist’s turn to shine.

Lundqvist announced yesterday morning via Twitter that he and his wife are expecting their first child in July. He’s second in GAA, fifth in wins, and first in both save percentage (.940) and shutouts league-wide.

In addition, Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto is tied for fourth in the league with a +25 rating.

Other New York players to look out for tonight will include forward Marian Gaborik, who has 28 goals and 24 assists in 59 games, and forwards Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Derek Stepan. (Remember, Stepan scored his first NHL goal – his first three NHL goals, actually – against the Sabres.)

One player who won’t be in the lineup tonight for the Rangers is left winger Wojtek Wolski, who was reportedly traded to the Florida Panthers. It’s unknown what New York receives in return. Wolski hadn’t played an NHL game since January 15; he was on a conditioning stint with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

Although not much will be known about the Sabres’ roster until warm-ups this evening, Cody McCormick and Marc-Andre Gragnani were both scratched for last night’s game.

Andrej Sekera scored the lone Sabres goal last night, with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy adding goals in the shootout to secure the win over their division rivals. The Sabres took four penalties – the Bruins none – and Boston’s lone goal was, can you guess it, a power-play goal. Definitely some room for improvement there.

Forward Corey Tropp, who was called up yesterday morning from Rochester, got two tripping (Tropping?) penalties in the win. I can’t say much else about last night’s game – instead of watching it, I took a road trip to Rochester for my first-ever Amerks game there. (But hey, I’ll talk about that another time.)

Tonight’s match-up will be far from easy, as the Rangers are at the top of the conference with 82 points – to Buffalo’s measly 61 – and third overall in the league, behind just Vancouver and Detroit. Their goal differential of +42 makes Buffalo’s -25 seem pretty, well….. pretty rough. Meanwhile, the struggling and typically inconsistent Sabres have won three in a row now! Their 11th place spot leaves them five points out of eighth place, currently held by the Florida Panthers.

Tonight’s game is at 7 p.m. and is the first of five on the road for the Sabres.

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