Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark (35) stops New York Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere (13) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

               The Rangers are back in action as they look to rebound after a disappointing defeat to the Boston Bruins (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG+).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Sabres
6th  East Ranking8th

               After a very impressive 6-2 victory against the Bruins on Friday night, the Blueshirts played an equally unimpressive game and were defeated 4-1 in the rematch. Things got off to a dicey start after Bruins forward Nick Ritchie fell and landed on Alex Georgiev’s head. Georgiev was cut and bleeding but remained in the game before giving up the first goal to Charlie Coyle. Following the goal, Georgiev was removed from the game and put into the concussion protocol. Igor Shesterkin came in relief and allowed one goal on the two shots he faced in the first period. Georgiev cleared the concussion protocol and returned for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately, the Rangers were flat for the game and struggled to score. Colin Blackwell got the Blueshirts only goal. Due to allowing the game-winning goal, Shesterkin was credited with the loss.

               “I was told he was OK, so we kept him in,” said head coach David Quinn. He (Trainer Jim Ramsey) worked on him and said he was fine. Then the NHL buzzed down and said they wanted to look at him.”

               The Rangers will now turn their attention to the Buffalo Sabres who have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league. Buffalo has been so disappointing that their star player Jack Eichel has been in the mix of trade rumors.

               As reported by The Athletic, “I think at the end of the day, Jack Eichel is going to end up a New York Ranger,” said one NHL executive. “I just don’t know when that is going to be.”

               Any trade involving the Rangers acquiring Eichel would cost the Blueshirts many quality assets, but in return, they would be getting a franchise centerman. Eichel has reportedly been disgruntled and is interested in winning sooner rather than later. Eichel appears to not be his usual self and has just two goals in 17 games. Eichel is currently third among Sabres with points.

               Buffalo has struggled to put the puck in the net this season and rank third to last in the entire NHL. The key for the Rangers will be to stay out of the penalty box as Buffalo has the best power-play in the East. The way to beat this Sabres team that is to not take penalties. Buffalo has not made the playoffs since the 2010-2011 season – the longest streak in the NHL. The Blue-And-Gold have 13 first-round picks in their lineup including most of them in the top ten and they are still disappointing. Many individuals from different parts of the hockey world are starting to ask some serious questions, especially with the rumors of Eichel wanting to depart. It’s gotten to that point where this could become an off-ice distraction that the Rangers will want to take full advantage of.

               Looking to take advantage of Buffalo will be Rangers first-overall pick, Alexis Lafreniere. Lafreniere scored his first career goal in overtime against the Sabres. Lafreniere is currently on the first point streak of his career after recording a primary assist in each game against the Bruins.

               “I like the way I’m playing recently,” said Lafreniere. Not the best start, but I’m getting more comfortable and making plays. I’ll just keep working hard.” Lafreniere went ten-months without a game prior to opening night this season and he thinks he is finally in game-shape. He’ll be looking to extend his point streak to three games.

               Artemi Panarin is still taking a leave of absence and is unavailable barring any last-second changes. Anthony Bitetto is currently day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

               But it’s not all bad news as Filip Chytil is looking like he will return to the lineup but is officially a game-time decision. “There’s a good chance he’ll play tomorrow,” Quinn said. Chytil skated on the third line with Kevin Rooney and Julien Gauthier. If Chytil returns to the lineup, expect Jonny Brodzinski to come out of the lineup.

Projected Lineup




Lemieux-Howden-Di Giuseppe