Wednesday, March 30, 2011
W2W4: Rangers vs. Sabres
By Mike Hume
After squandering an opportunity to pull even with the Rangers for the No. 7 spot in the East Tuesday night, the Buffalo Sabres will get another chance Wednesday against the Blueshirts themselves. Here's what to watch for when the puck drops upstate.
You know Henrik Lundqvist has been hot, but Ryan Miller hasn't exactly been struggling. The Team USA netminder has gone 4-1-1 in his past six games, including shutouts against the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils. Tuesday night he faced 35 shots (and allowed four goals) to the Toronto Maple Leafs, though. Will he come back with a vengeance or show some cracks after the loss? Against the Rangers this season he's split a pair of decisions in his two starts.
Just like the start of the season, the Anisimov-Callahan-Dubinsky line has been carrying the Rangers. The trio has combined for four goals and 11 points over the past four games. Derek Stepan (two goals) is the only other Ranger with multiple points over that span. The Blueshirts will likely take two points any way they can get them, but it might be nice if they could get some secondary scoring cooking.
The nickname is not a commentary on Ryan McDonagh's fitness, but rather the goal totals of those skating against him lately. McDonagh has posted a plus-10 rating since the start of the month, finishing only two games with a minus-1. The Rangers' young blueline has been holding up just fine since the trade of Michal Rozsival for Wojtek Wolski and the team now sits fifth in the NHL in goals allowed per game.