The Buffalo Sabres have been able to roll together an impressive run of hockey as of late. Looking back to early January, they were on a major skid, couldn’t score goals and weren’t supporting their goaltenders. But as the All-Star break approached they began turning things around. A couple sets of five-game stretches have kept the playoffs within reach and the Sabres can take another step forward tonight in New York.
Well, maybe it will be a lateral step.
Each team the Sabres are chasing are in action this evening. A pair (Toronto and Washington) play each other. Since Buffalo won’t be able to get too much help in terms of gaining ground, they will need to be content with keeping their head above water.
Getting wins last night and Tuesday all but guarantee the Sabres won’t be selling at the deadline. Consider Paul Gaustad safe from any suitors that may come calling. Derek Roy and Drew Stafford probably fall into the same category. Darcy Regier is in a position where he needs to make a few significant moves, but his team is in a position where those moves could potentially be detrimental.
The Sabres will not only see one of the league’s best teams tonight, they will also need to deal with one of the best goaltenders. I won’t be surprised if Ryan Miller is in net to face Henrik Lundqvist, but Lindy Ruff should know Miller needs to rest prior to next week’s road trip.
Robyn Regehr & Andrej Sekera vs. Gaborik. Combined with the Paul Gaustad, Pat Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe line; these two defensemen have been a shutdown tandem. Marian Gaborik has been enjoying a strong season and is a deadly scorer. The Rangers don’t necessarily have a line that needs to be shutdown, but matching this pair (and the line) against Gaborik and Brad Richards will be a key to victory for Buffalo.
BUF: Jhonas Enroth
NYR: Henrik Lundqvist
*No stats due to Rangers website*