Rangers at Sabres – 7:00 PM MSG
Tonight is a one game road trip to Buffalo, the meat on a home games against the Carolina Hurricanes bread sandwich. The Rangers are in a bit of a slump, going 3-3-1 in their past 7 games, but not looking particularly good in any of the games, even the wins. Jimmy Vesey goes to Buffalo for the first time after they traded a third round pick for his rights, only for him to not sign there.
When I get home, my oldest son will need to be put to bed, forcing me to watch the game on a bit of a delay. Clearly, this is an HAV.
Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers (16-7-1), via Steve Zipay (@stevezipay):
Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Rick Nash
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast
Matt Puempel-J.T. Miller-Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Adam Clendening
The big news, of course, is that Adam Clendening will return to the lineup in place of the struggling Kevin Klein. Maybe it’s his bad hairstyle, having a reverse-Samson effect. In any event, Klein has not been very good this season and has been particularly bad over the past 10 games or so.
Clendening is stylized as a puck mover. His advanced stats were good but in an incredibly small sample size. To me, he dramatically failed the eye-test, so I think his numbers are an anomaly that will even out with more playing time to reflect his poor performance. Clendening will be on the third pair with Brady Skjei. The duo will see some PP time together as well.
Remaining in the lineup is Oscar Lindberg, who had his strongest game of the season against the Hurricanes on Tuesday, so Josh Jooris remains Prucha’d for the second straight game.
The rest of the forward group got shuffled again. Again, I’m underwhelmed by the choices. Fast back in the top 6 by December. BDL must be thrilled.
Lundqvist gets the start tonight. Buchnevich is still not skating.
For the Sabres, (8-9-5), Anders Nilsson gets the start in Net after Robin Lehner was banged up on Tuesday in Ottawa. This will be the first home game of the season for second year center and Vesey friend Jack Eichel. Eichel scored a goal and an assist in his debut against Ottawa on Tuesday. Also in the game will be Eric’s perennial favorite trade target Evander Kane. He has no goals and just three assists on the season in 11 games played. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!