Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate: New York Rangers

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Dare we say?  Are the Buffalo Sabres prepared to win 4 in a row for the first time this season after winning three in a row for the first time?

The Buffalo Sabres skate into MSG tonight to face off against the New York Rangers looking to double their season best two game winning streak.

The Buffalo Sabres will have to get to four in a row without their leading goal scorer, as Thomas Vanek remains out with an upper body injury.

That means rookie Brian Flynn will remain in the lineup.

The last two Sabres victories should have been regulation wins, however late goals by the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils sent the Sabres into overtime and the shootout.

Buffalo can ill afford to continue handing out loser points to their opponents.  Looking to make a climb in the standings – every extra point they had out makes their climb out of the basement even harder.  Buffalo has put some distance between themselves and now the Florida Panthers who occupy the final spot in the Eastern Conference, but the ability to drop is there, as the lead on the bottom is only two points.

Despite all their woes through the first part of the season, the Buffalo Sabres remain only four points out of the bottom playoff spot.

Tonight’s opponent went 3-1 against the Buffalo Sabres last season, a pair of one goal Rangers victories were bookended by 4-1 wins by either team.  The Rangers skate into tonight’s just one point ahead of the Sabres, and Buffalo could find themselves with just two teams between them and the playoffs.

Interim head coach Ron Rolston is now 3-0 in his last three contests, and 3-2 in the National Hockey League after taking over the beleagured Buffalo Sabres.  Rolston thinks his team his getting more resilient to the physical and mental demands of the game they are lacking.

Tonight’s 7:30 contest will tell us whether or not the Buffalo Sabres are heating up and looking to make a run, or if they will falter and bounce back down to the bottom of the league.

OUT OF TOWN SCOREBOARD WATCH

Ottawa Senators vs New York Islanders – with only interconference games it is going to make it very difficult to climb in the standings with help from the out of town board.  Looking for the Islanders to pick up a victory here – as long as the Buffalo Sabres win, to keep them two points back, but bridge the gap between the Sabres and Sens.  The Senators at this point are only six points up on the Sabres, and are catchable.

Carolina Hurricanes vs Florida Panthers – As long as the Hurricanes are leading their division, it doesn’t matter how many points they stack up against the Sabres.  Only leading the Sabres by one point, keeping Florida as far away from the playoffs as possible is the goal.

Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins – has little bearing on the Buffalo Sabres, but the Battle for the Beast of the Northeast continues, as the Habs and the Bruins are tied for first in the division with 30 points each.

 

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, Pregame

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