The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabers meet for the second time this season on Friday night. Their first game was held at Madison Square Garden on November 21 and looked to be heading into extra time until defenseman Ryan Lindgren broke the tie at 4-4 by scoring the game-winning goal with 0.7 seconds left in the game. regular time. Here’s a look at the intrigues ahead of tonight’s game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
2 scenarios: Buffalo Sabers (8-14-3)
The Sabers cooled off after a hot start
After posting a solid 5-2-1 record in October, the Sabers struggled in November, with just three wins in 14 games. In nine games that month, they allowed five or more goals, all losses. They are winless in three games in December.
On December 2, the Florida Panthers scored seven goals against them and the Carolina Hurricanes scored six goals against them on December 4. The Sabers have two injured goalkeepers and another who is on the COVID-19 protocol list. They also struggled to score, averaging 2.76 goals per game played (GF / GP), ranked 22sd in the NHL.
Injuries hampered sabers
Guardian Dustin Tokarski has been absent since being placed under COVID-19 protocol on December 2. He’s been in 14 games – 13 starts – with a 4-5-3 record, a goals against average (GAA) of 3.28 and save percentage (SV%) of .903. He played more than any of the five goaltenders on the roster. The Sabers called Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, 22, of the Rochester Americans on Dec. 6 due to issues with the team’s stability in the position. Aaron Dell is another goaltender who played for the San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils before his tenure with the Sabers.
Related: Sabers News & Rumors: Tuch, Anderson, Tokarsi & Caggiula
Goalkeeper Craig Anderson, who has suffered an upper body injury since November 2, joins Tokarski in the injured reserve (IR) and Malcolm Subban, acquired in a Chicago Blackhawks trade on December 2, suffered a lower body injury. Injury on his first start for the Sabers on Dec. 4 and it’s hand-to-hand, although he skated with the team during practice. Forward Alex Tuch, acquired in the business of Jack Eichel, is also in IR with a shoulder injury. He was operated on at the end of July and will be away for about six months.
2 scenarios: New York Rangers (17-5-3)
Winning Streak Ends, Kinkaid Called From Wolf Pack
The Blueshirts were defeated by the Colorado Avalanche 7-3 on Wednesday to end a seven-game winning streak. A win over the Sabers on Nov. 21 kicked off the winning streak, and the Rangers have the opportunity to start another against the Sabers tonight. The Rangers are 8-2-0 in their last ten games.
With starting goaltender Igor Shesterkin in IR with a lower body injury suffered Dec. 3 against the San Jose Sharks, substitute Alexandar Georgiev took on the starter role. Adam Huska, who was called up from the Hartford Wolf Pack to serve as a replacement, made his first NHL start against the Avalanche in loss. His first stint in the league was short-lived as he was sent back to the Wolf Pack yesterday while Keith Kinkaid was called up to serve as a replacement. Kinkaid has more NHL experience than Huska, and in 11 games this season for the Wolf Pack he has a stellar 9-1-1 record, GAA of 2.59 and SV% of .916
The Rangers have Balance through four lines
After a few mixes and matches, head coach Gerard Gallant seems to have found the right chemistry in his four-line combinations to support the offense. Chris Kreider took much of the scoring, but the team have recently found a better balance in the roster. The fourth row of Kevin Rooney, Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Reaves has played well since Gallant decided to give the suit a look.
Related: Rangers Reap The Rewards Of Reaves’ Deterrence
Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, who have played together in previous seasons, are also playing well with teammate Dryden Hunt. The ‘Kid Line’ of Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier has given energy to the Blueshirts since their creation. The third row showed bursts of speed and created scoring opportunities.
Player to watch: Jacob Trouba
Jacob Trouba stepped up offensively and held his own in a few back-to-back games against the Chicago Blackhawks and the Avalanche. Against the Blackhawks, he had to respond with a hit on Jujhar Khaira and then on Avs Nathan MacKinnon. Khaira had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher while MacKinnon was able to skate on her own. The Rangers defenseman, a candidate for the vacant captain, amassed points in four of five games in December for a 3-3-6 stat line during the month. He will be looking to maintain his attacking game in tonight’s game.
The Rangers need to put Wednesday’s loss behind them and respond with a strong performance on the road against a Sabers team looking to build momentum and break through a month-long slump. The Blueshirts will look to maintain their position near the top of the Metropolitan Division alongside the Washington Capitals and Hurricanes. Tonight’s game is a good opportunity for the Rangers to start a new winning streak.
Matt covers the New York Rangers, contributes to Rangers Gameday Previews, Rangers Weekly, Rangers Daily Download, and has previously contributed content, including Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins news and rumors articles for The Hockey Writers. To learn more about Matt’s writings, visit his portfolio. For interview and podcast requests, follow Matt on Twitter which appears at the end of his articles.