Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres will try to pick up points in their fourth-straight game on Saturday night against the New York Rangers. It’s the first time paying fans will be invited to KeyBank Center since the pandemic hit.
The Sabres got thoroughly out-played on Thursday by the Rangers, getting outshot, 47-23, but thanks to Dustin Tokarski and a goal with 3.6 seconds left in regulation by Tage Thompson, Buffalo got a point before losing in overtime.
Buffalo is 1-2-2 against the Blueshirts this season, who are fighting for a playoff spot in the East Division. The Rangers came into play on Saturday tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for fifth place, and three points back of the Boston Bruins.
Linus Ullmark will be back in goal with a 6-5-3 record, a 2.49 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
Kyle Okposo was given the morning off by Don Granato, but he will play against the Rangers.
Buffalo has been perfect on the penalty kill for the last four games, killing off 14 penalties. In their last six games, they’re 21-of-23. The Sabres are now 14th in the league, killing off 80% of their penalties.
The power play hasn’t scored in three-straight games, and has only scored once in 19 games.
Taylor Hall hasn’t scored a goal in 15 games. Power play specialist Victor Olofsson has one goal in 11 games. Casey Mittelstadt has one goal in 16 games, and Jeff Skinner hasn’t scored in six games.
Two Rangers players have the NHL’s longest points streaks right now. Ryan Strome has points in 11-straight games, picking up 16 points. Defenseman Adam Fox has points in nine-consecutive games, accounting for 16 points.
New York is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games.
Igor Shesterkin will remain in net. He’s 9-8-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. Against Buffalo this season, he’s 3-0-0 with a 1.92 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Shesterkin has won five of his last six games with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.
Artemi Panarin has seven points in four games against the Sabres. Fox has six points in five games.
Since March 17, Mika Zibanejad leads the NHL with nine goals and 17 points. Fox’s 14 assists leads the NHL with Strome one assist behind.
In their last 11 games, the Rangers' goal differential is plus-22.
Skinner – Sheahan – Asplund
Olofsson – Reinhart – Dea (Okposo will play)
Hall – Mittelstadt – Thompson
Rieder – Eakin – Fogarty
Miller – Montour
Bryson – Ristolainen
Dahlin – Jokiharju
Join Brian Koziol for pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6 p.m. ET when he’ll be joined by Granato, Riley Sheahan and Cody Eakin.