Tuesday, March 12, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Sabres
By Katie Strang
At a glance: With five wins in their past six games, the Rangers take on the struggling Sabres in Buffalo on Tuesday night while looking to leapfrog the Devils in the Eastern Conference standings. Coming off a 3-2 loss to the Flyers on Sunday, the Sabres are in 14th place after posting an abysmal 3-5-2 record in their past 10 games, and they won't even have starting goaltender Ryan Miller in net. According to multiple reports, Miller is out with a sinus infection and will back up Jhonas Enroth.
Bad blood: Tuesday marks the first meeting between the two clubs since Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta injured Rangers veteran center Brad Richards with a nasty hit that earned the Sabres forward a five-game suspension. After the game, Richards, his teammates and Rangers coach John Tortorella blasted the hit and the player as “dirty.” Kaleta is eligible to return Sunday against the Capitals.
Boyle bounces back: After sitting out Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Senators as a healthy scratch, Brian Boyle rebounded with a nice performance Sunday in D.C. Boyle tallied his first goal of the season as the Rangers knocked off the Capitals 4-1 in the first of a four-game road trip.
Not just yet: After missing the first 26 games of the season with a hip injury, the Sabres' Ville Leino appeared ready to play his first game of the season against the Rangers, although indications from the Sabres' morning skate are that he will have to wait at least one more game. The 29-year-old Leino, who injured his hip before the season began, is looking to improve on an underwhelming 2011-12 season, when he finished with only eight goals and 25 points after inking a monster six-year, $27 million deal. Meanwhile, Tyler Ennis will also miss Tuesday's game. Ennis is “day-to-day” after being rocked by a hit from Wayne Simmonds on Sunday, although Sabres coach Ron Rolston said Ennis did not suffer a concussion.
Back on track: Since sitting out for two games while recovering from the effects of Kaleta’s suspension-earning hit, Richards has scored two goals in as many games. In his first game back, the 32-year-old alternate captain snapped a 15-game goal drought. He added his fourth of the season on Sunday.
Still streaking: Although his five-game goal streak was halted in Sunday’s win, Rick Nash has registered at least a point in each of his past 10 games played. He has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in that span and a whopping 11 points in the six games since he has returned from an undisclosed injury (believed to be a concussion) that sidelined him for four games last month.