When: Saturday, November 10th, 7:00 p.m.
Opponent: @ Buffalo (15-11-2)
UPDATE: Biron will indeed start tonight for New York. (1:24 p.m.)
EARLIER: The last time New York lost two games in a row came at the
end of a seven-game winning streak and the Rangers responded by peeling off
five consecutive victories.
The team will be hoping to begin a similar streak Saturday
evening in Buffalo after losses this week to Toronto and Tampa Bay.
The visit to the Sabres will be the first game of a tricky
back-to-back that will also include a home match Sunday evening against the
surprising Florida Panthers.
Like the Rangers, the Sabres were expected to be one of the
big movers in the Eastern Conference after a summer in which the team made big
additions including free agent signings Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino.
But Buffalo hasn’t gotten off to quite the same roaring
start as New York, partially due to Milan Lucic’s controversial hit on Ryan
Miller that kept the stud netminder out of action for nine games.
Miller is back in action but the Sabres have lost six of their
last nine (to be fair, Buffalo dropped games to tough opponents including
Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia during that stretch).
The Sabres have been particularly disappointing on home ice
where they are just 7-8-2, a problem the Rangers were all too familiar with
over the last two seasons. Prior to
Friday’s overtime win against Florida Buffalo had lost three consecutive games
at the First Niagara Center.
Come March though, it’s highly likely that the Rangers and
Sabres will be grappling with each other for a higher playoff seeding.
New York has enjoyed a tremendous start this season, but is
facing a new period of adversity without defenseman Mike Sauer.
The Blueshirts have received strong play from their
shorthanded defense all season, but if the team is to return to the win column
with regularity it will need for some slow starters to begin contributing.
Forward Brandon Dubinsky in particular must get going. The 25-year-old has just one goal in 25 games
after signing a four-year, $16.8 million contract this summer.
His poor offensive start has been masked by the team’s
success as a whole, but with other forwards having stepped up all year it’s
time that the Alaska-native does his part to help boost the overmatched
It’s likely that Martin Biron will make his sixth start of
the season in Buffalo as the fifth-place Rangers look to bounce back from one
of the few hiccups they’ve experienced thus far.
- Andrew Gross reports that Mike Rupp hopes to
begin contacting drills next week after resting this weekend.
- Artem Anisimov apologized
to Tampa Bay for his excessive goal celebration during Thursday’s bout.
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