The NHL is set up with a great slate of games throughout Thursday night. Fourteen games will be up on the board throughout January 28. One of these games will be between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres. These two teams have struggled throughout the early portion of this season, but will look for a big win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
New York has started off this new season with a record of 1-4-1, which has them in eighth place of the East Division. The Rangers have lost four games in a row coming into this one and will look to finally get back in the win column in this one. New York is coming off a loss against Buffalo on Tuesday and will look to bounce back in this one.
The Sabres have posted a record of 3-3-1 throughout the early portion of this season, which has them sitting in fifth place of the East Division. Buffalo has won back to back games coming into this one and will look to build off of that in this one. If the Sabres can come out hot on Thursday night, they could knock off the Rangers again in this one.
These two teams are sitting outside the playoff picture early in the season, but still have plenty of time to turn it around. Both teams will look to earn a big victory in this one. I expect both teams to try and come out hot in this matchup as they look for a win. This should be a good one as they meet in the second half of a back to back.
The Rangers and the Sabres met up twice throughout last season. The first meeting was in New York on October 24. Marco Scandella and Vladimir Sobotka each scored for the Sabres, but it was not enough. Ryan Strome scored twice, while Anthony DeAngelo and Brett Howden both had a goal and an assist. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 of 33 shots to propel the Rangers to a 6-2 win.
The second game of the season series stayed in New York on February 7. Jimmy Vesey had a goal and an assist. Jack Eichel added two assists as the Sabres jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist, but it was not enough for the Rangers to pull off the comeback. Carter Hutton turned away 37 of 39 shots to lead Buffalo to a 3-2 win.
The first game of this season’s series was on January 26. Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller scored for New York on the night, but it was not enough. Dylan Cozens, Tobias Rieder and Jack Eichel all scored a goal for the Sabres in route to the win. Linus Ullmark finished with 28 saves on 30 shots to lead Buffalo to a 3-2 win on the night.
These two teams split the season series last season, but the Sabres have won back to back games against the Rangers. Buffalo will look to keep that winning streak going with a victory in this one. I expect the Sabres to try and come out hot in this one as they look for a win against New York. The Rangers will look for their stars to step up as they try to turn it around early.
The Rangers have not been great on either side of special teams to open up this new campaign. New York has scored on 4 of their 26 power play attempts this season, which is a 15.4 percent power play. The Rangers have killed off 14 of the 20 power play chances for opposing teams, which is a 70 percent kill rate. New York will look to improve on both sides in this one.
Buffalo’s power play has been dominant to open up this season, but they have struggled a bit on the penalty kill. The Sabres have capitalized on 8 of their 26 power play opportunities, which is a 30.8 percent success rate. Buffalo has given up 3 goals on 12 penalties against, which is a 75 percent penalty kill. The Sabres will look to use special teams to their advantage in this one.
The Sabres have been the better team on special teams to start out this season. Buffalo’s power play has been lethal, but their penalty kill has not been great. The Rangers will look to get their power play going in this one. If New York cannot slow down the Sabres power play, Buffalo could run away with it. I expect the Rangers to change things up in this one as they look for a win.
Igor Shesterkin will likely get the nod in the net for New York on Thursday night. Shesterkin has started in three games this season, earning a record of 0-2-1. He has posted a save percentage of .886 and a 2.98 GAA through his starts. Shesterkin last played against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 24. He stopped 16 of 19 shots in the losing effort.
I expect Linus Ullmark to get the start in the crease for the Sabres in this matchup. Ullmark has earned a record of 2-1-1 throughout his starts this season. He has put up a .912 save percentage and a GAA of 2.42 through those games. Ullmark turned away 28 of 30 shots in Tuesday nights win over the Rangers. Buffalo will look for him to continue to step up in this one.
These two goalies have put up opposite starts to this season. Shesterkin has struggled early in the season, while Ullmark has had a strong start to the new campaign. Shesterkin has an extra day of rest coming into this one and he will look to use that to his advantage in this one. If Shesterkin can jump out to a quick start in this one, it could be enough to give the Rangers a win.
New York has struggled coming out of the gates this season. The Rangers are coming off four straight losses and will look to finally get back in the win column in this one. Buffalo has not been great throughout this season, but have won back to back games. I think New York can come out better in this one though as they look to get a huge win.
BetOnline has the Rangers listed as a -108 against the money line. This gives a slight edge to New York on Thursday night. I like this line as I think the Rangers will finally get back in the win column. New York will look to get a big win in this one as they try to claw back into the race for the division. If the Rangers can fix up their game plan, I think they will win this one.