Rangers vs. Sabres – 7:00 PM MSG
The Rangers come back home to start the new year after a road trip against some of the minnows of the league. They were not playing well the last time they were home. It will be interesting to see how they come out of the gate tonight.
I am back at the helm of the blog, but even so, E3 will provide tonight’s review. Clearly, this is a HAV.
Tonight’s possible lineup for the Rangers (26-12-1):
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner
JT Miller-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast
Nicklas Jensen-Marek Hrivik-Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Klein
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Dan Girardi
The big news, of course, is that Matt Puempel is out with a concussion. Nicklas Jensen was recalled to take his spot in the lineup. Jensen has 24 points in 29 games with Hartford, had no points in his four games with the Rangers earlier this season. JT Miller finally finds his way into some PP time in place of Puempel in front of the net. Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.
Rick Nash is getting closer to returning. If he comes back before the bye* week, it seems like Saturday against Columbus is the only possibility. There are still no definitive timetables on Buchnevich or Zibanejad. Buchnevich supposedly just needs to regain his conditioning.
For the Sabres (13-15-8),the story is about falling out of their playoff race and not progressing as they had been expected to, while fellow former tankers Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are already well on their way to contending for playoff spots. Apparently Eichel blew up in the dressing room following their last loss, so we may be in for a repeat of when he torched the Rangers a month ago.
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!