The Rangers are in Buffalo tonight to face the Sabres for the second time this season. In their first meeting, the Rangers came away with a 3-2 shootout victory. Both of the Rangers regulation goals were scored on the powerplay, which is something that has really been a driver for the Rangers success lately. This was also the game where Brad Richards got Patrick Kaleta’d, resulting in a five game suspension. Kaleta is still serving that suspension, and will not play tonight.
The first forechecking look the Sabres give is the 2-1-2 forecheck, which the Rangers utilize as well. This is an aggressive system designed to create pressure below the dots and cause turnovers down low. In certain game situations (i.e., the score, time left in a period, etc.) they tend to switch to a slightly more conservative 2-3 lock. This system also sends two forecheckers into the zone, but the third forward sits back with the defense up high. This ensures protection against odd man rushes, but also provides some pressure to create turnovers.
In the defensive zone, the Sabres tend to pressure the points, yet they haven’t been very good at giving Miller protection in the slot. If the Rangers can find a way to exploit the weak low-zone coverage, then they will put themselves in a great position to walk away with a win.
The Sabres are without Ryan Miller and Tyler Ennis tonight, which should create some good matchup opportunities for the Blueshirts.
For more on Tortorella’s systems read here.
2012-2013 Records: Buffalo (9-14-3), Rangers (13-9-2)
NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (9-14-23)
BUF Leading Scorer: Thomas Vanek (13-16-29)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (20 GP, 2.24 GAA, .921 SV%)
BUF Goaltender: Jhonas Enroth (4 GP, 3.93 GAA, .871 SV%)
Broadcast Info: MSG, 7pm
Torts post-game interview from Sunday: