GAME PREVIEW: NEW YORK RANGERS @ BUFFALO SABRES
Below is the team issued pregame notes.
NEW YORK RANGERS at BUFFALO SABRES
Saturday, Mar. 14, 2015, 7:00 p.m. ET
First Niagara Center – Buffalo, NY
Rangers: 42-17-7 (91 pts)
Sabres: 19-42-6 (44 pts)
The Rangers conclude their season-high five-game road trip and begin a back-to-back set tomorrow, Mar. 14, against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). The Rangers enter the contest with the top record in the NHL thus far this season. New York has earned a point in each of its first four games of the road trip (3-0-1) and has won each of the last three contests on the road trip. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 15 of their last 16 games (12-1-3), and have won 12 of their last 15 contests (12-1-2). The Rangers have recorded at least one point in 18 of their last 20 games (15-2-3). The Blueshirts have won 35 of their last 48 games (35-10-3), including 33 of their last 45 games (33-9-3) and 31 of their last 41 contests (31-7-3). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 48 of their last 62 games (41-14-7), including 41 of their last 52 games (36-11-5). The Rangers have posted a 42-17-7 record this season (91 pts), following a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Mar. 11 in Washington. The Sabres enter the contest with a 19-42-6 record this season (44 pts), following a 4-3 shootout loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, Mar. 11 in Toronto.
RANGERS PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Prior to tomorrow’s game, Rangers extras will skate at 11:30 a.m. at First Niagara Center. Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be available to the media at 5:00 p.m.
*Schedule and availability subject to change
RANGERS VS. SABRES
All-Time: 67-73-25-5 record (38-28-15-3 at home, 29-45-10-2 on the road)
2014-15: Tomorrow’s game is the third and final meeting between the Rangers and Sabres this season, and the second meeting between the two teams in Buffalo. The Rangers have posted a 2-0-0 record (1-0-0 at home, 1-0-0 on the road) against the Sabres, following a 3-1 win on Feb. 20 in Buffalo. The Rangers have outscored Buffalo, 9-2, thus far in the season series. Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin are tied for first among all skaters with two goals, while Derick Brassard leads all skaters with three assists. Nash and Brassard are tied for first among all skaters with four points. Mackenzie Skapski made 24 saves and earned his first career NHL win while making his NHL debut on Feb. 20 against the Sabres.
The Blueshirts have won six consecutive games against the Sabres, dating back to Apr. 19, 2013. New York has outscored Buffalo, 24-8, over the last six contests and 16-4 over the last five games between the two teams.
Dominic Moore played with the Sabres during the 2008-09 season.
Chad Johnson played with the Rangers in parts of two seasons (2009-10 - 2010-11).
Cody Hodgson's first NHL Head Coach was Alain Vigneault (Hodgson played 71 regular season and 12 playoff games in Vancouver during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons).
INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. SABRES
Rick Nash - 17 GP, 12-6-18 - Nash enters the contest with a five-game goal/point streak against the Sabres (five goals, three assists), and he has recorded five multi-point games in his last eight contests against the Sabres (eight goals, four assists over the span). In seven games against Buffalo as a member of the Rangers, Nash has registered 10 points (six goals, four assists).
Martin St. Louis - 51 GP, 15-29-44 - St. Louis has notched a point in five of his last seven games against the Sabres (two goals, five assists), and he has recorded 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in his last 15 games against Buffalo.
New York has posted a 13-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams in 2014-15
The Rangers were 0-for-3 (6:00) on the power play on Mar. 11 at Washington
New York has recorded a PPG in 16 of the last 38 games (21-for-102; 20.6% over the span)
The Rangers were 2-for-3 (4:25) on the penalty kill on Mar. 11 at Washington
The Blueshirts rank ninth in the NHL on the penalty kill this season (83.1%; 162-for-195)
New York is tied for third in the NHL - and is tied for first in the Eastern Conference - in SHG (eight) this season despite playing the eighth-fewest minutes shorthanded of any NHL team (329:30). The Rangers rank second in the NHL - and lead the Eastern Conference - in SHG (18) since 2013-14.
The Rangers are 10-for-11 (90.9%) on the penalty kill over the last three games and are 17-for-19 (89.5%) on the penalty kill over the last six contests. The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 10 of the last 14 games (36-for-41; 87.8%) and they are 98-for-115 (85.2%) on the penalty kill over the last 42 games.
J.T. Miller - 2 games away from 100 in his NHL career
Marc Staal - 3 assists away from 100 in his NHL career
Dan Girardi - 4 points away from 200 in his NHL career
TOP OF THE HEAP
The Rangers enter the contest with the top record in the NHL thus far this season. The Blueshirts are the only NHL team to rank in the top five in both goals per game and goals against per game in 2014-15. The Blueshirts rank in the top five in the NHL in the following categories: points percentage (first - .689), goal differential (plus-46), points (tied for first - 91), regulation/OT wins (second - 39), goals against per game (third - 2.30), wins (tied for third - 42), and goals per game (fourth - 3.03). The Blueshirts also have the fewest regulation losses (17) in the NHL and are tied with St. Louis for the for the fewest total losses (regulation + overtime/shootout; 24) in the NHL this season.
The Rangers are the only NHL team who has won 20 or more road games in four of the last five seasons, including each of the last four seasons which have been 82 games (dating back to 2010-11). New York has earned a point in each of the first four games of its road trip (3-0-1) and has won each of the last three games. The Blueshirts have allowed one goal or fewer in regulation in each of the last four games. It is the first time the Rangers have allowed one goal or fewer in four straight team games, all of which have been on the road, for the first time in franchise history. The Blueshirts have won eight of their last 10 road games (8-1-1), 10 of their last 14 road contests (10-3-1), 14 of their last 19 road games (14-4-1), and 18 of their last 24 road contests (18-5-1). The Rangers lead the NHL in road wins (21), points percentage on the road (.667), and regulation/OT wins on the road (20) in 2014-15. New York has posted a 16-1-1 record in games which have been part of road trips three games or longer in length this season.
ONE AND WON
New York has allowed one goal or fewer in each of the last three games, in four of its last five contests, in five of its last eight contests, in six of its last 10 games, and in seven of its last 13 contests. The Blueshirts lead the NHL in games with one goal or fewer allowed (55) since the start of the 2013-14 season, and they have posted a 50-3-2 record in those contests. The Rangers have allowed one goal or fewer in regulation in each of their last five games, which is the first time they have done so since Mar. 16-25, 2007.
A STAR ON BROADWAY
Cam Talbot is the first goalie in Rangers history who has allowed one goal or fewer in regulation in four consecutive team games which have all been played on the road. He has posted a 4-0-1 record, along with a 0.99 GAA, a .966 SV% (140 saves on 145 shots), and 1 SO in his last five appearances.
Rick Nash enters the game ranked among the top 10 in the NHL in all of the following categories: even strength goals (first - 30), SHG (tied for first - four), goals (second - 39), goals per game (second - 0.60), games with a goal (second - 32), GWG (tied for second - eight), shots on goal (third - 248), SHP (tied for third - four), takeaways (seventh - 61), and plus/minus rating (tied for seventh - plus-24). He is the only NHL player who ranks among the top 10 in all of those categories, and he is the only NHL player who ranks tied for second or higher in goals, even strength goals, SHG, and GWG this season. Nash is the first Ranger who has tallied at least 30 even strength goals, five PPG, and four SHG in the same season in franchise history.
RETURN OF THE MAC
Mackenzie Skapski is expected to start in goal for the Rangers tomorrow. He stopped 24 of 25 shots he faced to earn his first career NHL win while making his NHL debut on Feb. 20 at Buffalo. With the victory, Skapski became the youngest Rangers goalie (20 years, 250 days old) to earn a win since Dan Blackburn on Mar. 22, 2003.
Derick Brassard has notched a point in 13 of the last 19 games, recording 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) over the span. He is tied for second in the NHL in assists (15) since Feb. 2, and he has established career-highs in assists (38) and points (52) this season.
Mats Zuccarello has recorded six assists/points in the last seven games, and he has tallied 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in the last 20 contests. Zuccarello is the NHL's all-time leader in career games played (208), career goals (42), career assists (91), career points (133), and career plus/minus rating (plus-41) by a Norwegian-born player.
HEY HEY HAYES
Kevin Hayes has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the last two games, seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last nine games, 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in the last 17 contests, 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in the last 20 games, and 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in the last 23 games.
INJURIES (88 Man-Games Lost to Injury):
Kevin Klein - upper-body - 3-4 weeks
Henrik Lundqvist - neck - injured reserve
Mar. 10 - Agreed to terms with Adam Tambellini on an entry-level contract