The Buffalo Sabres look to string two wins together after a spirited effort on Friday night against the Boston Bruins. Facing three straight losses against the Bruins in a three-game series, the Sabres responded in a big way for a 6-4 win. Could the effort have been a little better from the Bruins? Yeah, it could have been a lot better, but let’s not take anything away from the Sabres’ effort. The defence and Tuukka Rask seemed to take the night off for the Bruins.
Rask was rattled for 4 goals on 28 shots for a 0.857 save percentage. It was a rare dysfunctional night for the Bruins’ defence and Rask. They didn’t show much energy and that’s the result. I think it was a little of the Sabres of putting together their best effort, while the Bruins simply went through the motions.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made his debut in the NHL and he wasn’t the reason for the Sabres’ win. However, Luukkonen was strong through the first two frames. The Sabres had a 3-1 lead going into the third, and Luukkonen gave up 3 goals in the final period to nearly give the game away. In any case, for a guy that was struggling at the AHL level, he will take the 0.90 save percentage and win in his first ever start in the NHL.
Luukkonen and Dustin Tokarski are filling in between the pipes while Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark remain out of the lineup. The Sabres are trying to make the best of it while hoping to secure the top pick in the draft. They are doing a good job of aiming for a win in the draft lottery, as the Sabres are going into Sunday with a record of 13-28-7 and 33 points.
That’s dead last in the league, so the Sabres are in a good spot for top honors in the draft. The Sabres take a short trip to NYC for a meeting against the Rangers on Sunday evening. The Rangers enter at 24-18-6 and 54 points for fifth in the East Division. They’re playing for a playoff spot, with every game important for the Sabres at this point in the season.
The Rangers are coming off a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at home Friday night. Alexander Georgiev had a productive day at the office, as he stopped 26 shots for a 0.963 save percentage. With the win, the Rangers have won five of their last seven outings. Head below for our free Sabres vs. Rangers pick on April 25, 2021.
Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Rangers NHL Betting Odds:
Sabres vs. Rangers Prediction:
The Sabres aren’t a good team, but at least they’ve been showing some form of resistance lately. They are putting in some effort to avoid embarrassing themselves. That’s the motivation for the Sabres right now. With injuries to their roster, there’s also plenty of young talent that are using this as an opportunity to impress and hopefully earn an opening day roster spot for next year. The Sabres owned the longest losing streak in the NHL in 17 years. They were on an 18-game skid, which ended with a 6-1 win against the Flyers at the end of March. Buffalo has four wins in their last ten outings.
That isn’t much, but compared to what they were doing during their losing streak, that’s a revelation for the Sabres. Buffalo is 28th with 2.4 goals scored per game. The offensive stroke for the Sabres hasn’t been present without Jack Eichel in the lineup. Yeah, they scored 6 goals against the Bruins, but that’s been an extreme outlier for them this season.
The Sabres have put an average of only 28.1 shots per game on net for 27th in the NHL. Along with Eichel absent, Kyle Okposo is also OUT for the season after a recent facial injury against the Washington Capitals. After getting struck in the side of the head, Okposo needed surgery to repair the injury. Naturally, with Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark absent, the defence has had problems. They’re 27th in the league with 3.4 goals against per game and 30th for 33.2 shots against.
Dustin Tokarsi is listed as probable for the Sabres on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Tokarski owns a record of 3-7-1 with a 3.23 GAA and 0.914 save percentage. Tokarski has been awful in four appearances against the Rangers. He owns a 4.43 GAA and 0.884 save percentage on 129 shots. Igor Shesterkin is scheduled to counter for the Rangers in the crease. The 25-year-old has emerged as the No. 1 netminder in NYC for the Rangers. He deserves the honor as the go-to option.
The Russian has notched a 2.45 GAA and 0.92 save percentage this season. Shesterkin has been top-notch against the Sabres in four outings with a 1.90 GAA and 0.921 save percentage. The Rangers defence is ninth in the NHL with 2.6 goals against per game. Offensively they’ve been hot at home, with an average of 3.57 goals per game. Overall, the Rangers are seventh with 3.3 goals scored per game. After a big win against the Bruins, expect the Sabres to regress on the road at MSG. They’ll put up a fight, but likely not enough to prevent at least a 2-goal win for the Rangers.