Game #77 Preview, Rangers @ Sabres: Repulsive Salvation
That was an ugly loss last night. Demerits all around and all that. But that is last night and tonight is tonight, and tonight they need to go play a gnarly road game at home against a tough opponent.
The Rangers are white hot right now, having gone 8-1-1 over their last ten games, and have Henrik Lundqvist playing himself into the Vezina race. Meanwhile, despite their disappointing loss to the Maple Leafs, the Sabres are 6-3-1 in their last ten games but 3-1-1 in their last five. It’s going to be an slug-it-out defensive crawl at One Seymour H Knox III Plaza.
One thing the Sabres did terribly last night above all other things was pass terribly. Brad Boyes, in his worst game as a Sabres yet, was especially bad at receiving passes. They need to seriously tighten up the passing game if they want to abuse Lundqvist as much as possible.
Tonight’s game marks the return of skill-less grinder extraordinaire, Matt Ellis, who is with the team in place of Jochen Hecht! It also marks Marc-Andre Gragnani’s insertion into the line-up to quarterback the power play and improve the transition game with Jordan Leopold out. With Ellis, Mancari, Gragnani, and Enroth all on the Sabres roster, this marks the first time I can think of with four call-ups playing that we aren’t dreading the outcome.
Hopefully, the Sabres put away the cutesy home nonsense that plagued them early this season and come out as tough as possible against the Rangers. 7th place is right ahead of them, but more importatly, if they lose and so does Montreal, the Hurricanes will be right behind them. They need to keep it ugly in the best way possible. Repulsive, even.