After a shootout victory in Montreal, the Blueshirts are in Buffalo for the first half of a back-to-back that will end in Pittsburgh (5:00 on MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsSabres
10thNHL Standing Rank22nd
13th GF/PG3rd

Rangers vs Sabres

               The Rangers and the Sabres are set to due battle for just the first time this season. Buffalo is the only team the Rangers have not yet played this season. In recent memory, Buffalo have often not been taken as seriously as they were in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s. The Sabres have a young roster who appear to have finally taken the next step in their long and painful rebuild. While it is starting to become more likely they will miss the playoffs, they finally have an identity and have a lot of players who can punish you on offense.

               The breakout player of the season in Buffalo’s Tage Thompson. Thompson was acquired by the Sabres in a deal that sent Ryan O’ Reilly to St. Louis. It was a rare trade where both teams end up very happy. Thompson had 68 points last season including 38 goals for a career season. Some thought it could be a fluke, but Thompson is making last season look like he was just getting started. Currently, the 25-year-old has 85 points which currently sits him with the fifth most in the NHL. Thompson’s 42 goals have him third in the league.

                Buffalo has a high octane offense and two other players having fantastic seasons are Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch. After a solid first season in Buffalo, Skinner’s second and third seasons there were atrocious and had the Sabres regretting that large contract. Last season, Skinner had a respectable 63 points and this season he is at 65 which is a new career high already.

               Tuch on the other hand is in his second season with Buffalo after coming over in the trade that sent Jack Eichel to Vegas. The Syracuse native has 62 points which is ten more points then his previous career high of 52 which came during his second season as a Golden Knight. Tuch is currently week-to-week with a lower-body injury and Buffalo has lost five of seven games since Tuch’s been out.

               Rasmus Dahlin is also having a career season with 63 points on the season. The former first overall pick is currently third in the league among defensemen with points and is a plus 19.

               While Buffalo has all of these players who are having career years and for all the good work they’ve done on offense, their defense has been lacking all season. The Sabres are bottom five in the league on both their penalty kill and overall goals-against-average. With Buffalo’s current identity to outscore their problems, expect the Rangers to be able to generate some quality chances. In Buffalo’s last game against Dallas, the Sabres allowed ten goals to the visiting team. The Sabres have lost five of their past six games and have allowed at least three goals in each game.

               Patrick Kane will have a homecoming and his first as a member of the Rangers. Kane was born in Buffalo and he has performed well in his birth city. In 10 career games in Buffalo, Kane has 13 career points. Kane is coming off recording his first goal and assist with the Rangers in Montreal.

Igor Shesterkin will start in goal for the Rangers. Shesterkin made 23 saves in his last appearance. Expect Jaroslav Halak to start in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Tyler Motte and Ryan Lindgren are both listed as game-time decisions. Motte has a real chance of playing while Lindgren’s chances are slightly less. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Motte in the lineup and Lindgren held out another game or two.

Projected Lineup










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