? Rangers ⏰ 7 p.m. ? MSG ? WGR550
Season series: Both teams are going into this game looking for their first win of the season after disappointing home openers. Look forward to a lot of energy and anger from both sides since their can only be one winner and they both have the same ending goal.
Buffalo notes: After much anticipation after an exciting preseason, many question the optimism of the “different” approach of this season and the possibility of their first playoff contingency since 2011. Especially after the team was booed as they stepped off the ice following the end of the first period trailing 2-0, and it didn’t get much better.
“Was it disappointing in front of a good crowd that was here to support us?” Coach Phil Housley asked. “You’re damn right. It’s disappointing. So, what can we control? We can control how we come to the rink and work because we are not going through this again.”
The Sabres returned to Keybank Center on Friday for a video session followed by an hour long practice and work out. Housley ran some of the forward lines he used in the third period — the best they looked– Thursday night.
“We’ve got to keep it fresh and change to try to push some buttons,” Housley said following practice. “I thought that change in the third period made a much better third period. Analytically and statistically, it looks like we played a good game. It’s the start of the game I’m looking at. The first period, certainly, analytically, wasn’t very positive for us.”
The Sabres are looking to approach this match with the hope of not only improving their fanbases spirits but getting their first goal of the season, and possibly their first win. That improvement begins with finding a more direct approach to the net as they only shot on goal six times in the first period Thursday– finishing the game with 32 on the strength of 15 third-period shots.
Rangers notes: Although the score board did not reflect it, the Rangers out shot, out hit and reflected twice the amount of shots as the Nashville Predators Thursday night. This comes with the newest addition of Coach David Quinn and the often dreaded term of a “rebuild.” New York dropped their home opener with an empty netter from the Press with 34 seconds remaining in the game.
“I didn’t think we really played to the level that we’re looking for,” Quinn said. “Obviously, we are up against a team that’s one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, so it was certainly a great test. I just thought we were hesitant, I didn’t think we hounded the puck like we did in the preseason. It’s probably the most odd-man rushes we gave up in any game we’ve played. We’ve just got to be harder on the puck. We’ve got to do a better job of playing ‘in your face’ hockey.”
Starting goaltenders: Thursday night, Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves on 32 shots while Carter Hutton made 22 saves, which might look poor on paper but his teammates didn’t do him justice. The Sabres didn’t create traffic in front of Boston’s goalie Jaroslav Halák, lacking second or third chance rebound attempts. Defensively, they allowed too many forwards to attack a vulnerable Hutton, being too soft on Boston. The Rangers were 3-0 against Buffalo last season but tonight’s game could go either way.
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