Buffalo failed in its most recent attempt to catch the New York
Rangers in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have the chance,
firsthand, to get it done in their next contest.
The Sabres look to bounce back from their first regulation
defeat in two weeks Wednesday night when they host a Rangers team
that has earned a point in seven consecutive games.
Buffalo’s 4-3 loss at Toronto on Tuesday not only snapped its
three-game winning streak but kept the eighth-place Sabres
(38-29-9) two points behind seventh-place New York with six games
remaining for both teams. The Rangers are two points back of
While the Sabres own a three-point lead over ninth-place
Carolina, they don’t want to blow another opportunity to tie the
Rangers (41-30-5) and better their playoff position.
While Buffalo is 4-1-1 since March 19, New York is 8-1-1 since
losing three in a row Feb. 27-March 3. The Rangers, who have not
lost in regulation since falling 5-2 at Anaheim on March 9, won 6-3
at Buffalo to open the season Oct. 9.
However, Rangers coach John Tortorella simply wants his team to
focus on themselves and not what else is going on in the
“There’s enough there. Doesn’t matter what team,” Tortorella
told the Rangers’ official website. “I know everybody is concerned
about the standings, but we can only worry about us.”
Henrik Lundqvist has done his part to keep the Rangers focused,
stopping 77 of 78 shots and posting two shutouts while winning two
of the last three games. He made 26 saves in a 1-0 win at Boston on
Saturday for his league-leading 11th shutout.
“He’s going to have to be like that for us if we’re going to
continue,” Tortorella said. “He has stepped up his play when we
That’s because New York has scored one goal in each of those
last three contests. Brandon Dubinsky, Brandon Prust and rookie
Derek Stepan have provided all the scoring for the Rangers during
The Rangers, however, have totaled 11 goals while winning two of
three against the Sabres this season. Stepan recorded a hat trick
in his NHL debut in the season opener, but has been held without a
point in the teams’ last two meetings.
Lundqvist has allowed three goals in each game while splitting
his two starts against the Sabres this season. He has won two of
his last three at Buffalo
Sabres star Ryan Miller could get the chance to bounce back
after giving up two more goals Tuesday than he did in his previous
three starts combined.
“I had a chance to set the tone on my end and didn’t do it,”
Miller said of his effort at Toronto. “It just kind of went from
Miller is 1-1-0 with a 3.55 goals-against average versus New
York in 2010-11. He made 29 saves in a 3-2 win at New York in the
teams’ last meeting March 1.
Thomas Vanek has a goal in each of Buffalo’s last two games, but
has been held without one the last eight against the Rangers.