Lets Play Outside! Rangers and Sabres Face Off In Winter Classic
Happy New Years to all! It’s time to go outside as the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres face off in the 10th Annual NHL Winter Classic. The Rangers ended 2017 on a down note, as they dropped their matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2 in the shootout. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres finished 2017 strong, defeating the New Jersey Devils in overtime.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 31, 2017
Keys To The Game
Winning In Regulation With A Solid Effort – The Rangers have gone to overtime in their last two matchups, against Washington and Detroit respectively. The Metropolitan Division is a tight one, only being five points out of first. In order to keep the pace, the Blueshirts must put out a 60-minute effort and get the two points in regulation, instead of fighting for the extra point in OT. The team also needs to tap into their killer instinct, and take over a game and win it in regulation.
“When you’re coming on the road, those are the games you want to close out,” Nash said. “It was an OK road game, but we just didn’t close out.” Brett Cygralis/NY Post
Holding The Lead – Examples like the game on Dec 21st versus New Jersey and Dec 29th against Detroit, the Rangers need to hold their leads in order to win the games they need to. Each game, they’ve let up goals late, which has hampered their chances to win in regulation. Better defensive play from players like Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith, along with better breakout passes from within the defensive zone from any Ranger, is needed to defeat the Sabres in the friendly confines of Citi Field.
“We had enough chances, especially in the third, to win this one,” Lundqvist said. “It was tough to give up that second goal. I felt we had the momentum, we had the chances.” Brett Cygralis/NY Post
Players To Watch
New York Rangers
Vinni Lettieri – Talk about a whirlwind of a week for Vinni Lettieri. Lettieri was recalled from Hartford to replace the injured Chris Kreider. Skating in his first NHL game on Friday versus Detroit, he scored his first NHL goal after a nice feed from Boo Nieves. Lettieri was placed on the fourth line and second power-play unit for that game, which means his shoot-first mentality is something the Rangers want to utilize. The Rangers aren’t a team that shoots as much as one may think, so look for Lettieri to not only shoot the puck, but also stabilize the fourth line and part of the second power-play unit in the absence of Chris Kreider.
Jack Eichel – The Sabres team leader in goals and assists, Jack Eichel is someone you cannot miss when facing the boys from Buffalo. Although the Sabres are last in their division, Eichel is a standout talent that is producing in his own right, with 15 goals and 20 assists. Eichel has scored seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last five games, which means he’s doing the job he needs to do for this Sabres team. His two goals were pivotal in defeating the Metro’s top team, the New Jersey Devils, 4-3 in Overtime to close out 2017. Look for Eichel to try and make an impact against the Rangers in the Winter Classic, hoping to give his team the spark plug they need.
Puck drops at 1!
Let’s Play Ball, I mean, Let’s drop the puck!
LETS GO RANGERS!!