New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres, 7:00 PM at Madison Square Garden
Where To Watch: MSG 2
Where To Listen: 1600-AM, WWRL
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
The Rangers (46-20-7, 99 pts) look to close out their longest homestand of the season on a winning note---and surpass the 100-point mark in the process---when they host the Buffalo Sabres tonight (35-29-10, 80 pts). The Rangers are 4-2-0 so far on this seven-game homestand, having won each of their last two games---4-2 over the Devils on Monday and 2-1 in overtime against the Red Wings on Wednesday. They will also be looking to stay ahead of the red-hot Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers own a one-game lead over Pittsburgh---which won again last night---with nine games left to play in the regular season. This evening's game is one of a myriad of possible first-round post-season series for the Rangers, who clinched a playoff berth on Monday. With 80 points Buffalo sits in ninth place, one point behind the Washington Capitals, and both teams have eight games to play. Should they vault into eighth and the Rangers finish in first in the East, the Sabres and Blueshirts would face off in the first round of the playoffs. However that is a long ways off, and the Rangers are more focused on raising their collective game to a higher level each night before the post-season rolls around. And they feel they have done that their last three contests, starting with last Saturday's unfortunate 3-1 loss against the Avalanche. The Sabres come in having own two straight this week, including Wednesday's 3-0 shutout over the Canadiens, and are 4-0-2 while earning at least one point in each of their last six games. While the Rangers will be missing Steve Eminger from their lineup again tonight, the Sabres will do without the injured Nathan Gerbe.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the Rangers and Sabres this season. The Rangers have won all three games against Buffalo so far this season, including the exciting 3-2 overtime victory at The Garden on February 25th in which Ryan Callahan scored his 100th career goal---the game winner in OT. The Blueshirts have surrendered only three goals in the season series, outscoring the Sabres 8-3---including by a 5-1 margin in the third period and overtime. Carl Hagelin leads the Rangers with three goals and four points against Buffalo this season.
"I think the last few (games) we've been playing the way we have wanted to, and then the last couple of those we have gotten the result we wanted, too. We want to get our game resolved and ride that out and take that into the playoffs. We want to have our game at that top level when the (regular) season is over."-Marc Staal
By The Numbers
The Rangers improved to 11-7 in games decided after 60 minutes of play with Wednesday's overtime victory over the Red Wings. They are 8-2 in the actual five-minute overtime period, and 3-5 in the shootout. Marian Gaborik has scored thee overtime winning goals fort he Rangers this season, and Ryan Callahan---who had the winner Wednesday---has netted a pair.
The Blueshirts are 26-9-2 on home ice this season, their best record at The Garden since 2008-09 when they were 26-11-4. With four home games remining on the schedule, the Rangers will be seeking their most home-ice wins since the Stanley Cup season of 1993-94 when they won 28 times at Madison Square Garden.
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