The Rangers (41-30-5, 87 points) come in having won six of their last seven and are 7-2-1 in their last ten games. Despite this, they still only have a 2 point lead over the Sabres (38-29-9, 85 points) for the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference. The game means a lot to both teams, but means especially a lot to Buffalo, who needs to correct course to avoid losing two in a row. A Sabres win would put the Sabres in a tie for 7th, and Buffalo would win the tiebreaker if the season ended right after that. However, a Sabres loss would mean a big point swing to the Rangers, who’d be able to create some distance between the 7th and 8th spot, as well as chase the Montreal Canadiens in 6th.
The Carolina Hurricanes are just 3 points behind the Sabres, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are only 5 points back. Buffalo has lost to both of these teams consecutively – the Hurricanes twice in a row and Toronto three times in a row. However, the Sabres’ success away from these two clubs has given them a points advantage. The Canadiens and Hurricanes play tonight in Montreal, and Buffalo has to be hoping for a Habs victory to help keep Carolina off of their backs. The Maple Leafs will see action tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins, a team high up in the Eastern standings.
It won’t be easy for Buffalo – they face a team who’s won a ton of games recently and who’s had the luxury of a four-game rest, while the Sabres have had less than 24 hours.
Face-off is 7PM ET and the game can be viewed nationally on Versus and Versus HD.