Here is the latest as the Rangers get ready to take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight.
Stephen Valiquette got shellacked in his first Hartford start last night, gave up 5 goals on 31 shots, and was pulled in the first period. He was sent back in after Matt Zaba was equally ineffective. Thanks to Adam Rotter at SNY for the update.
Andrew Gross from Ranger Rants says the Rangers may have even more trouble scoring tonight:
First off, the Rangers may have tremendous problems scoring goals tonight. Not only have they notched only two or fewer goals in 11 of their last 15 games, but Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller is leading the NHL in both goals-against (1.84) and save percentage (.936). Plus, the Sabres’ penalty kill has killed off 39 of their opponents’ last 42 man-advantage opportunities.
Also, from NorthJersey.com, Gross talks about Ales Kotalik hoping to snap his slump:
"It has nothing to do with the coach," said Kotalik, who has six goals and 12 assists after signing a three-year, $9 million deal with the Rangers, but has gone nine games without a goal. "I’m going through some tough times, like everybody. Hopefully, I come back to Buffalo, or anywhere else, and feel good and get back to my game."
This one is a couple of days old, but Corey Locke was named the AHL Player of the Month for November. His reward is another month in Hartford.
Jim Cerny at Rangers.com looks at the refreshed and (again) reconfigured Rangers.
Ok, more on tonight's game and the Sabres after the jump.......
Buffalo Sabres (16-7-2, 1st Place, Northeast Division)
Head Coach: Lindy Ruff
#9 / Center / Buffalo Sabres
May 04, 1983
Tonight's game will be televised on MSG. You can also catch the radio broadcast on 1050 ESPN New York and on satellite radio at XM 205.
All Time – Rangers vs. Sabres
At MSG: 32-25-15-2
At Buffalo: 22-42-10-2
2008-09 Series Recap
New York went 1-2-1 against Buffalo in 2008-09, including an 0-1-1 mark at HSBC Arena. Ryan Callahan tied for the team lead with two goals and three points in the season series.
Sabres right wing Mike Grier has four points in five games since returning from an upper-leg injury. More importantly, they are 4-1 since his return after going 2-3 without him. The first line of Jochen Hecht, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville has 14 points in the past three games. Roy and Pominville have five points and Hecht has four. Thomas Vanek also has five points in three games. Rookie defenseman Tyler Myers has five assists in four games. Swingman Andrej Sekera has four points in three games since a benching.
Before we anoint a forward as the rookie of the year, look at what Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto and Buffalo's Myers are doing.
Among rookie defensemen, Del Zotto, the 20th pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, leads with 17 points and is tied for first with 12 assists. He's also tops with three power-play goals and is one of three rookie defensemen with a game-winning goal. He's fourth with 18:45 minutes of average ice time.
Myers, the 12th overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, is tied for lead at plus-6; is second with 21:55 minutes of ice time a night; is second with 14 points and third with 11 assists.
Sabres Penalty Killers on a hot streak (Buffalo News)
Sekera proving to be a tough out (Buffalo News)
For more on the Buffalo Sabres, check out our SBNation affiliate for the Sabres: Die By The Blade