Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – More bad news for the Buffalo Sabres on the injury front. Don Granato said Thursday that Curtis Lazar has a lower-body injury and is considered week-to-week. Rasmus Asplund has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury, but he’s ready to slide back in for Lazar on Thursday night against the New York Rangers.
Since returning from injury, Linus Ullmark played Saturday in Boston, Monday and Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Coming off injury, Granato didn’t think it would be fair to put him in on back-to-back nights, so Dustin Tokarski gets the call.
Tokarski is 0-3-0 this season with a 4.11 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage. Tokarski gave up four goals to the Rangers on March 22 in a 5-3 loss at Madison Square Garden.
When 27-year-old Steven Fogarty signed with the Sabres, he had played 18 games with the Rangers and had no points. Fogarty was selected in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Rangers and has been a career AHL player.
When Fogarty scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday against the Flyers, he didn’t seem all that excited. The second period goal gave the Sabres their two-goal lead back, and the team didn't look back from there.
“It just happened so quick and you’re in the moment," Fogarty said Thursday. "It’s something that you envision and dream of your whole life, but once it happens, it does happen quick. But it was a good point of the game to get a goal, so that’s what I was thinking.”
There are no playoffs in the American Hockey League this season, and the Rochester Americans only gets games against the Syracuse Crunch, Cleveland Monsters and Utica Comets. Fogarty is the Amerks' captain, and he said they’re just lucky to be playing.
“It’s an unusual year," he said. "It’s hard to say difficult, because we’re just fortunate that we’re playing. Obviously the situation isn’t ideal, but at the end of the day we’re only playing 32 games, so you’ve got to find that motivation to be that most of us want to get back up to the NHL or get here for the first time. That fuels each other.”
Coming from the Rangers organization, of course Fogarty will have some feelings going up against them for the first time.
"I loved my time in that organization," Forgarty said. "They’re the organization that drafted me, believed in me and gave me an opportunity along the way, so I have nothing but respect for that organization. It’s going to be a cool experience to go head-to-head against them.”
The Sabres will try to win their second game in a row for just the second time all season when they beat the Washington Capitals, and then came home to get a victory over the Rangers.
Buffalo was perfect on the penalty kill for the third straight game on Wednesday, going 3-for-3 on the night. Brandon Montour set the NHL record for the fastest two shorthanded goals scored by a defenseman, getting two in 37 seconds.
Montour has three goals and four assist for seven points in his last eight games. It’s a good time to get hot, as Kevyn Adams looks to trade him before the April 12 NHL Trade Deadline.
Kyle Okposo has points in five-straight games, scoring two goals and four assists for six points.
The Rangers have caught fire, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They’ve scored 44 goals in those 10 games.
Ryan Strome has points in all 10 of those games, netting two goals and 13 assists for 15 points. In his last 21 games, Strome has seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points.
Defenseman Adam Fox has also been on a tear for the Rangers. He has points in eight-straight games, scoring two goals and 13 assists for 15 points. Fox is a third round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2016 NHL Draft. He was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019 for two second round picks. That was after completing three years at Harvard.
The Rangers have climbed to sixth place in the East Division, two points behind Philadelphia and five points behind the Boston Bruins for the division’s final playoff spot. The nice thing for the Rangers is they still have four more games against the Sabres and are looking at eight points there. New York is 3-1-0 against Buffalo this season.
Join the Bulldog for pregame coverage starting at 6 p.m. ET when he’ll be joined by Granato, Fogarty and Wednesday night’s ice-time leader Jacob Bryson.