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New York Rangers Game Thread: 2/19, Rangers at Sabres

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There are no guarantees in hockey.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Game Fifty-Seven, the New York Rangers at the Buffalo Sabres
Record: 34-16-6

Rangers vs Sabres coverage | Die By The Blade

The Rangers blew three leads against the Canucks last night at the Garden. Three. Surrendering leads has been a very disturbing trend we have seen with the Blueshirts lately. They almost always play well enough to win right up until they seemingly start playing as if they want to find a way to lose or, at the very least, make things interesting. Some of the turnovers and scrambles that have occurred in the Rangers' own zone in this last stretch of games have been embarrassing and seriously troubling. Coughing up pucks around the net or simply being lackadaisical in getting the puck out of the net has been burning the Rangers a lot lately. It's got to stop. Great hockey teams don't blow three leads to a team that they are, quite frankly, quite a bit better than. Hopefully tonight the Rangers will play with a fire in them and make sure to finish the job against the league's saddest story; the Buffalo Sabres. Maybe tonight we'll get a reminder about just how good the Rangers can be.

Thankfully the Rangers still have points in their last six games, going 4-0-2 since November 8th, but we all know that they are lucky to not have picked up a regulation loss over that stretch. Tonight, the Rangers cannot afford to take the Sabres lightly. Buffalo is going to work hard and do everything they can to play the spoiler tonight. The Sabres have a lineup full of young kids hoping to make a statement about belonging in Buffalo for the long haul as part of the rebuild and some veterans that are auditioning to keep their jobs or prove their worth to playoff-bound teams around the league. In other words, they are a desperate, hungry, and proud hockey team. You never corner a possum, my friends. That's how you lose an eye. Tonight's game represents two points that the Rangers simply can't let get away.

The New York Rangers' February Schedule

2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM (win.)
2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM (loss.)
2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM (overtime loss.)
2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:30 PM (I guess it was a win)
2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM (win.)
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM (Win!)
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM (overtime loss.)
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM

Mike's Player to Watch: Kevin Hayes

I thought Hayes had a very quiet game last night which comes at a bit of a surprise considering how exceptional he's been as of late. Hayes can be a handful for some defensemen and there are few teams that have more troubles on their blue line than the Buffalo Sabres do. I have a gut feeling that Kevin Hayes might have a pretty big game tonight playing against a bunch of other young players. Hayes doesn't have to be physical or even better than god-awful at faceoffs to help this team. All he has to do is make things happen when he has the puck in the offensive zone and help drive possession for the Rangers.

Let's go Rangers! Drop the puck. Go get two points, boys.