This is another one of those all important 4 point swing games against the Sabres tonight, and the first of back-to-back-to-back games against what are currently non-playoff teams. Simply put, they need all three of these games. A win against Buffalo is a start.
Although this Sabre team hasn’t been the same since losing Ryan Miller (thank you Scott Gomez), just 3 wins since then, the Rangers have a tendancy to make backup goalies, in this case Patrick Lalime, look like gods in net. They can’t afford to let that happen tonight.
With Carolina and Pittsburgh winning last night, the Rangers sit in 7th place in the East, 4 points behind Pittsburgh for 5th (with two games in hand), and just 2 points ahead of Florida for 9th. A win today would help secure their standing, gain two points on idle Pittsburgh, and deliver a dagger to Buffalo’s heart.
As per Andrew Gross, the lines are:
Sean Avery-Scott Gomez-Nikolai Zherdev
Markus Naslund-Chris Drury-Nik Antropov
Fredrik Sjostrom-Brandon Dubinsky-Ryan Callahan
Aaron Voros/Lauri Korpikoski-Blair Betts-Colton Orr
Wade Redden-Derek Morris
Paul Mara-Michal Rozsival
Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
So, nothing has changed after a big win in Montreal. It’s safe to assume Voros will be a healthy scratch again, and Hank will be in net.
This is a must win game, as the Rangers will need another 6 wins in their remaining 11 games to qualify for the playoffs (probably).
Other games of note today:
Toronto at Montreal
Washington at Carolina
Columbus at Florida
Game time is 7pm, on WPIX tonight. Enjoy.