Rangers right back at it, take on desperate Sabres team

NHL: New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

In New Jersey on Thursday night, the Rangers absorbed a 2-1 setback against the club they would meet in the first round of the playoffs if the standings remain as they are.

The Rangers, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division, are four points behind the second-place Devils, who would hold home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series under the current standings.

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (44-21-10) vs. Buffalo Sabres (35-31-7)
Date/Time: March 31, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: KeyBank Center
Radio: ESPN 1050

How to Watch the New York Rangers in 2023

Rangers take on Sabres

NHL: New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

New York allowed first-period goals to Erik Haula and Timo Meier, and the Rangers could only muster Chris Kreider’s 33rd goal in the match’s remainder.

By scoring for the sixth time in the past 10 games, Kreider notched the 262nd goal of his career, tying him with Vic Hadfield for fifth all-time in franchise history.

The loss broke the three-game winning streak of the Rangers, who are 9-2-1 in their past 12 games.

“They were fast and they were quick and that’s how they play,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of the Devils. “We don’t know who we’re playing yet (in the playoffs), but if this is the team, it’s a good matchup. We’ll see where it goes.”

Added New York defenseman Adam Fox: “This was a big game for us standings-wise, but playing a team like Buffalo, those points matter just as much, too.

With nine games remaining on their regular-season schedule, the Buffalo Sabres face a daunting task to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

When Buffalo completes its two-game homestand Friday night with a matchup against the New York Rangers, the Sabres should have a pretty good understanding of whether or not their longshot aspirations of postseason play still exist.

Barring a collapse by both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers, the Sabres (35-31-7, 77 points) will have the steepest of uphill climbs to keep playing well into April.

With Pittsburgh and Florida both winning on Thursday night, Buffalo fell seven points behind the Penguins and six back of the Panthers in the chase for the final Eastern Conference wild card.

However, the Sabres do have an X factor in all of this if they can get within striking distance.

They have nine games left, including Friday’s, while Pittsburgh and Florida have seven and six to go, respectively.

Rangers Notes

Jaroslav Halak is expected to get the call in between the pipes for the Blueshirts. The 37 year-old veteran has a career mark of 13-4-0 with a GAA of 2.08, and a .923 save percentage.

Ryan Lindgren is expected to miss this contest after tweaking his shoulder injury last week.

–Field Level Media

–Forever Blueshirts contributed to this article

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