The New York Rangers have to get hot before things truly get out of hand for them, having lost their past two games and suffered a losing month for the first time this season.
They’ll look to get back on the right track when they visit the Buffalo Sabres tonight at KeyBank Arena (7:30, MSG/NBCSN).
The Rangers‘ (31-18-1) post All-Star slate began with an agonizing loss on Tuesday, falling behind 6-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets before scoring four in the final period to make it respectable. Jimmy Vesey opened the scoring with his first goal since December 31, before Michael Grabner and Chris Kreider added scores. Kevin Klein ended things with his first of the season for the final.
The Sabres (20-20-9) are trying to reenter the playoff conversation, currently seven points behind Philadelphia for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. They’re coming off a 5-2 loss to Montreal, also on Tuesday night. They also fell behind big, trailing 5-0 in the third period, before Dimitry Kulikov and Brian Gionta prevented a shutout with late goals.
This will be the third and final meeting between the Rangers and Sabres this season, and the Rangers will look to avoid get swept. The last meeting came on January 3, a 4-1 Buffalo win at Madison Square Garden. Nick Holden had the lone Ranger goal, with Sabres scores by Zemgus Girgensons, Evander Kane, Justin Bailey, and Jack Eichel. The Sabres have not swept the Rangers in the regular season since the 2006-07 season.
Magnus Hellberg will be the backup for the Rangers tonight, as Antti Raanta and his wife Anna have welcomed their first child.