The Rangers head to Buffalo to finished their small four game road trip. After another disappointing loss Sunday night the Rangers need to produce some points from this two game mini series. Over the weekend, the Rangers dropped both games against the Penguins. Losing Friday night in a shoot out and then gave up the winning goal on Sunday with a minute thirty left in the game. The Rangers entered the third period up a goal in each game. Those are games the Rangers need to get two points out of in a shortened season. Here are some thoughts from Coach Quinn on the early season results.
The last week the Rangers lost to the Devils 4-3 in a game they produced 50 shots on goal and outplayed the Devils most of the game. They were by far the better team, and two fluke goals tied the game for Pittsburgh before winning in the shoot out. Sunday, they again came into the third with the lead only to give up the tying goal in the first three minutes and then outplayed the Penguins but could not retake the lead. Three very winnable games and they only managed to scrape up one point. Just not an ideal start to the season. Mika Zibanejad, who has had his own struggles, echoed this point yesterday.
Mika: “It’s 56 games and we can’t afford losing these points. That’s something we have to take to real quick and change that.” pic.twitter.com/pLWwd1f6e3— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 25, 2021
The Match Up
Coming into the game, the Rangers have a 1-3-1 record, losing three straight. Buffalo comes in after splitting their weekend series with the Capitals and carries a 2-3-1 record on the year. Last year the Rangers and Sabers split their season series 1-1. The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games against Buffalo.
Sabers Game Notes
The two players to watch tonight for Buffalo are Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall. Eichel is one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. He comes into the game still looking for his first goal of the year; he did score the shoot out winning goal Sunday but has 7 assists in six games. The former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall is in his first year with the Sabers. The Rangers saw a lot of him during his three plus years with New Jersey. Hall has 6 points in six games this year.
The Sabers have yet to say who will be starting in goal. Their normal starting goalie Carter Hutton returned to practice yesterday, and the team said he is healthy and will suit up tonight. Not sure if that means he is starting or simply backing up Linus Ullmark. If Hutton is the starter, he has had success against the Rangers in the past. He holds a career record of 5-2 with a 2.16 GAA. Ullmark has not had the same success against the Blueshirts. He has made 2 appearances and has a 0-1 record. In 39 shots against him, he has allowed 6 goals, good for a 4.04 GAA.
Rangers Game Notes
These are must win games for the Rangers. If they cannot produce points in this mini series, they will dig themselves a nice early season hole, which will be tough to climb out of. The biggest news is the injury to Filip Chytil. The Rangers young center had an awkward collision Sunday night and, after returning for just one shift, remained out for the rest of the game. Rangers released an update yesterday that he was taken back to New York City for further evaluation. With Chytil out, Brett Howden will be looked upon to move into his spot. Howden had a nice training camp, but that has not translated to regular season success yet.
Buffalo likes to drive the puck and play close to the net. The Rangers had success limiting Pittsburgh’s chances around the net last weekend. K’Andre Miller was excellent behind the net, battling with Crosby most of the weekend. The 21-year-old rookie defenseman continues to impress each game.
🔑 – fence. pic.twitter.com/vJQ8atOPnq— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 25, 2021
The Rangers announced Alexandar Georgiev will be in net tonight. Georgiev is 1-1 on the season. He looked excellent in a shut out win against the Islanders in his season debut. He was not as good in his second start. Lasting only two periods against the Devils and allowed 4 goals on 20 shots. Georgiev has had success against the Sabers in his career. He is 2-1 with a 2.02 GAA against them in 3 games.
These are two important games for the Rangers as they look to turn around a shaky start to the season.