How far will the Rangers get this season?

Game Day: Gaborik Returns
The Rangers take on the Sabres in the third game of their home-stand and their superstar winger makes his return...

Marian Gaborik returns tomorrow night

Marian Gaborik returns tomorrow night

Sabres @ Rangers

Madison Square Garden, 7:00 p.m. Thursday night

Rangers record: 7-7-1

Sabres record: 4-9-2


The Rangers take on the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night in the third game of their home stand and the story of the night is the return of Marian Gaborik.

Gabby has missed the last 12 Rangers games and the team managed to go 6-6-0 without him.  Though it was good to see a couple players step up in his absence, there’s no one who won’t be thrilled to have the right winger back in the lineup.  The Rangers managed 2.3 goals without Gaborik in the lineup, which seems about right given what a huge part of the offense he is.  It will be interesting to see how John Tortorella tinkers with the lineup.  There’s no way he’s breaking up the Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov – Ryan Callahan line right now, but it’s difficult to picture what the best scenario for Gaborik would be.  Before the season started Tortorella was adamant that Alex Frolov would get the first crack at playing with Gaborik, but Frolov has been abysmal so far this season and is clearly in Torts’ doghouse.  I would guess that Frolov will still get his chance, at least for a couple games, but I don’t know.  The bigger question may be who plays center on that line.  Brian Boyle has (shockingly) been the Rangers’ best offensive center outside of Anisimov this season, but he isn’t the playmaker that Gaborik needs.  The other two candidates, Derek Stepan and Erik Christensen, have been invisible lately.  Christensen is the veteran, so he’s the most likely choice, but the Rangers might be wise to give Todd White a shot.  White hasn’t impressed anyone during his time with the Rangers, but he had a huge year two seasons ago centering Ilya Kovalchuk.  He’s not the ideal choice, but he may have the best chance of succeeding with Gaborik and Frolov right now.  Whatever the lines turn out to be, we must be patient with Gaborik.  He’s only been skating for a few days and could very well be tentative to unleash his shot given his injury.  But there’s still no doubt that Gaborik immediately makes the Blueshirts substantially better, especially on the power play.

Though Gaborik is the story of the night, one of the big surprises around the NHL has been the struggles of the Buffalo Sabres.  After finishing third in the Eastern Conference last season on the coattails of a marvelous year by goalie Ryan Miller, many expected the Sabres to be a true Cup contender.  But in 2010, the Sabres have been atrocious on home ice where they’re 0-6-1 and can’t seem to keep the puck out of their net or put it into the opponent’s.  Obviously, the Sabres are a far better team than they’ve shown thus far, the question is whether they’re ready to turn things around.  Buffalo picked up a 3-2 shootout win over Toronto on Saturday, and as I write this they lead they equally hapless New Jersey Devils 2-1 in the second period.  Before Saturday they’d lost five in a row, but maybe they’re figuring it out.  Buffalo’s biggest offensive threat is center Derek Roy, the lone bright spot on the squad, who has eight goals and eight assists on the season.  Tim Connolly, Jordan Leopold, Thomas Vanek, and Drew Stafford have four goals apiece.  The Sabres were buoyed by the return of Jason Pominville to the lineup tonight, and his absence and another slow start by Vanek have been very problematic for Buffalo.  But perhaps the biggest area of concern is on defense, where Tyler Myers is an awful -12.  Myers made a couple costly turnovers in the Rangers’ season opening 6-3 win over Buffalo and just seems completely out of sync.  Even in goal, Miller hasn’t been himself just yet.

The Rangers should receive quite the boost both in morale and in talent with the return of Gaborik.  However, if the Sabres hang on tonight, that will be two wins a row for them and perhaps a bit of confidence will return to the locker-room.  This should be an entertaining match up as Buffalo is playing with desperation and the Rangers finally have their star back.  An early lead could deflate the Sabres quickly.


- The Rangers will be without Michal Rozsival for seven to 10 days due to a shoulder issue.  Rozsival has been quiet in recent games as the injury has evidently bothered him.  Tortorella plans to pair Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger, and Mike Sauer and Matt Gilroy for the time being.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | November 10, 2010 at 08:19 pm

Posted by: | October 8, 2015 at 08:21 pm
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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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