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Rangers begin the new year against the Sabres at MSG; Nash and Buchnevich back to practicing

Bobby Bevilacqua

JT Miller protecting the puck 12-1.jpg

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a successful two game road trip, the Rangers (26-12-1) head back to Madison Square Garden to take on the Buffalo Sabres (13-15-8), the first of two games over the next two days before heading to Philadelphia tomorrow.

The Rangers took care of business last week, beating the Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche, two games they were supposed to win. The game against Arizona was a lot closer than it should have been, but they beat the Avalanche handily in their next game, scoring six goals. Now with games against the Sabres and the struggling Flyers over the next two days, the Rangers have a chance to secure some points before the league mandated bye-week.

The Sabres dealt with some injuries to start the year, but it’s been a pretty disappointing start considering some of the signings they made this offseason. Buffalo enters the game tonight with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, and are just 1-4-2 in their last seven games. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers blow late lead in a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres

Bobby Bevilacqua

kevin-hayes-shooting-12-1

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (16-8-1) saw their team fall apart, giving up two late goals and blowing a lead against the Buffalo Sabres (9-9-5), dropping their fifth game in their last eight contests.

Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash and Marc Staal combined to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead after two periods, but it all eventually fell apart. Jack Eichel, in his second game back from injury, scored two big goals, including the game winner.

It was a game the Rangers never really should have won, because they were outmatched for the majority of the game. It was another concerning showing from the Blueshirts, one that has now become a pattern. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers visit Eichel and the Sabres for first time this season

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-sabres

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

After a comeback victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday, the Rangers (16-7-1) will hit the road for Buffalo and take on the Sabres (8-9-5) for the first time this season.

New York is coming off of a game where they didn’t play particularly well, but managed to come away with a win anyway. Rick Nash had a spectacular game, with a goal and an assist in a dominant offensive performance, while Jimmy Vesey scored the game winner on the power play to end a scoreless drought. Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves in the win.

Buffalo is also coming off of a win, an exciting back-and-forth game against the Ottawa Senators that ended with a 5-4 scoreline. Ryan O’Reilly led the way with two goals and an assists, while Kyle Okposo, Sam Reinhart, and Jack Eichel, in his first game back from injury, had a goal and an assist. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers battle the Islanders in important matchup for playoff seeding

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs islanders 3-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With two games remaining in the season, the Rangers (45-26-9) face an interesting conundrum in tonight’s matchup against the Islanders (44-26-9); Win and try to catch the Penguins? Or worry more about generating a consistent offensive game plan and be content for a wild card spot?

Obviously, no NHL team is going to intentionally lose, that’s foolish. But the Rangers are in a situation where they may be better off with a loss. Winning would pull them closer to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are arguably the league’s hottest team, but they’re without Marc-Andre Fleury. A loss would drop them closer to the first Wild Card spot, where they might have an easier route against teams like the Penguins and Bruins/Red Wings.

Either way, tonight is a big matchup between two rivals and a big matchup when it comes to playoff seeding. The Rangers have not won a single game against the Islanders, who are currently without Jaroslav Halak. Read the rest of this entry

Know the foe: New York Islanders

John Dundon

rangers vs islanders faceoff 12-2

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

“Know the foe” will be a series of posts in which I examine some of the Rangers likely playoff opponents. Up first, who else but the cross town rival New York Islanders.

Starting this playoff matchup preview series wouldn’t feel quite right if it were about any other team. The Rangers are 0-2-1 against the Islanders so far this year. They play again once more in the regular season: April 7 at MSG, the second to last game of the season. Each of the Blueshirts losses to those pesky Isles has been equally frustrating with the pain coming in different ways each time.

On Dec. 2 the two teams met as NBC’s Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup, a game that saw the Islanders win in a shootout, 2-1. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding, making 37 saves and letting but one puck squeak by him in the shootout. This was a highly anticipated game–the first visit to the Barclays Center for the Rangers. Read the rest of this entry