For the New York Rangers, this game is going to be important to try and get back into the swing of victory after an unsuccessful trip to the Garden State yesterday, the Rangers will be looking to win for two points. Buffalo is not the kind of team that you can be leaving two points against after losing to New Jersey if the Rangers want to keep their push for home-ice advantage in round one alive, but that is not the big issue tonight.
Tonight is simple. Stay healthy. Injuries at this time of year will likely mean missing playoff time and with how unpredictable playoff hockey is, you can’t be certain that one player will not make the difference between a victory in round one and elimination from the postseason. We’ve already seen this cautious approach from the organization to try and allow the organization to adjust for the postseason.
Jaroslav Halak is expected to get the start tonight as Igor Shesterkin went last night and the rest is needed for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Halak has been excellent recently in relief of the Russian netminder with the Slovakian shot-stopper having an incredible record since the trade deadline. Shesterkin will need to be at his best for Game One, so we’re expecting a steady diet of the Slovakian.
New York Rangers
Artemi Panarin – Mika Zibanejad – Vladimir Tarasenko
Chris Kreider – Vincent Trocheck – Patrick Kane
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Jimmy Vesey – Barclay Goodrow – Tyler Motte
Niko Mikkola – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Ben Harpur – Braden Schneider
Jeff Skinner – Casey Mittelstadt – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn
Jordan Greenway – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju
Owen Power – Ilya Lyubushkin
Riley Stillman – Jacob Bryson
Puck drop time and where to watch
MSG network will cover this clash between the two New York-based teams. As the Rangers look for two more points in the standings, the Sabres will be playing for their playoff lives in this 7 PM Eastern puck drop. It’s going to be an important win from the second half of this back-to-back, but if the Blueshirts are going to be a strong playoff team, they need to be dispatching the Sabres at this time of year.