The Rangers are desperate to catch the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot and in order to do that – a win against Buffalo is a must (6:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Sabres
5thEast Ranking8th

               The Blueshirts are currently six points back of the Boston Bruins and they’ve played two more games than Boston. The Rangers have eight games left total which means they can get to a possible 70 points total if they win every game. With each point the Rangers fail to get, the target number to clinch the playoffs will decrease for each of the top four teams in the East. If the Blueshirts were to win every game (including the final two against Boston), then they would need Boston to get nine points or fewer in their remaining eight games (this takes into account two games against the Rangers). The Bruins are currently at 60 points which means they would need five wins to match the highest point total the Rangers could get. Boston’s last ten games include:

               NYR x2,

               PIT x2,

               BUF x2,

               NJD x2,

               NYI x1,

               WSH x1,

               The best thing the Rangers can do is do everything in their power to win their remaining eight games and hope they get the help they need. If they want to continue to put pressure on Boston and keep whatever hopes they have alive, that means they must win against Buffalo. The Sabres did the Rangers a favor on Friday by defeating the Bruins 6-4, including a hat trick from Sam Reinhart.

               The Sabres have been playing better since they broke their 18-game winless streak. They hold a record of 7-5-2 and have been showing they aren’t the pushover they were earlier in the season.

               One-time Ranger Dustin Tokarski will get the start for Buffalo. Tokarski was excellent in the April 1st meeting between the two starts where he made 44 saves in a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Rangers.

               The Rangers kids have been making a real contribution as of late and it continued on Friday night when Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil each recorded a goal. Lafreniere has been moved to the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. That line has been clicking since being put together two games ago and it is expected to remain intact to start Sunday night’s game.

               “I’m a lot more confident for sure,” said Lafreniere. “I am making a lot more plays and I kind of found my game….”

               Igor Shesterkin will be back in goal for the Rangers. Shesterkin has lost his past two starts and will look to get back on track against Buffalo. Shesterkin was the victim of poor play in front of him for each of his past two starts.

               Jacob Trouba remains out of the lineup and he is still considered day-to-day.

               The lineup for Sunday night’s game is up in the air according to head coach David Quinn. Usually, the Blueshirts have been accustomed to sticking with the same lineup after a win under Quinn, but at his morning press conference, Quinn stated the lineup is up in the air due to COVID testing. It is important to note that Ranger players were vaccinated on Tuesday, April 6th following an 8-4 win against Pittsburgh. It is unknown if all the players took that vaccine and if others didn’t want it.

Projected Lineup