(WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres enter Madison Square Garden on Tuesday with a 4-3-1 record on the road, which is a far cry from their home record of 2-7-2 with six straight losses. Buffalo has won two of its last three games on the road, but it doesn’t much matter when your .395 points percentage has you 28th in the NHL.
Buffalo’s goals-against average on the road is third-best in the league at 2.38. The blue and gold scores over 40% of the time on the power play away from home, which leads the NHL.
Dylan Cozens, Jacob Bryson and Colin Miller will all return to the lineup against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. Cozens said following the morning skate he was with Cody Eakin and Tobi Rieder. That’s the line he started the season with. Casey Mittelstadt played in that spot on Sunday.
Scoring goals, of course, is the Sabres' biggest problem, as they average just 2.21 goals per-game, which ranks 29th league-wide. With the Sabres being shutout for two straight games, the power play went from first to third in the league.
One stat that really surprised me when I looked it up is the Sabres are averaging 30.9 shots per-game, which ranks 12th overall. I would’ve guessed that ranking to be much lower.
You want goals? You won't find many here:
- Taylor Hall hasn’t scored in 18 games
- Jack Eichel has no goals in nine games
- Henri Jokiharju hasn’t scored in 12 games
- Eric Staal’s goalless streak is at 10 games
- Rieder hasn’t scored in eight games
- Riley Sheahan has one goal in 14 games
- Eakin has one goal in 19 games
- Kyle Okposo hasn’t scored in 21 games
- Rasmus Dahlin hasn’t scored in nine games
- Matt Irwin hasn’t scored in 78 games
- Jeff Skinner hasn’t scored in 20 games
- Tage Thompson hasn’t scored in 33 games
- Brandon Montour hasn’t scored in 26 games.
Buffalo’s penalty kill has been close to perfect the last four games, killing 10-of-11 penalties. That has helped them to rise to 15th in the league at 79.6%.
Tuesday will be the first time all season that the Sabres have played in front of fans.
“We have a refreshed energy just being in Manhattan and coming into MSG, knowing that there’s going to be some fans in the building,” said Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger following Tuesday's morning skate.
Krueger said there are some essential things he needs to see to beat the Rangers.
“This calls for character today. This calls for grit. That’s the kind of situation we’re in, and we need to bring it.”
The Sabres are 1-0-1 against the Rangers this season, splitting two games back in Buffalo on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28.
If you’re a glass half-full person, the Rangers have won three of five games. If the glass is half-empty, New York has only three wins in nine games.
Artemi Panarin is still on a leave of absence from the Rangers. Meanwhile, Filip Chytil is returning Tuesday after missing 14 games with an upper-body injury.
Igor Shesterkin gets the call in goal for the Rangers. He’s 4-7-1 with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Shesterkin has only won one of his last six games. Those games really weren’t on him, as he had a .921 save percentage in those games.
Before going 0-for-3 in their last game, the Rangers had scored a power play goal in four straight games. They’ve been perfect on the penalty kill in four out of five games.
Despite missing five games, Panarin is still their leading score with 18 points (5+13) in 14 games. Ryan Strome and Pavel Buchnevich are next with 13 points in 19 games.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog at 6 p.m. EST for pregame coverage on WGR when they’ll be joined by Krueger, Cozens and Sam Reinhart.