NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, October 9th
(All times eastern)
New York Rangers (0-0-0) at Buffalo Sabres (1-0-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - All that stood between the New York Rangers and a playoff
berth a season ago was a shootout goal. Ultimately, the bounces went the other
way and the club missed out on the postseason for the first time since the
Living proof that every point matters, the Rangers will try to get their
2010-11 season off on the right foot this evening when they visit the Buffalo
Sabres and HSBC Arena.
The Rangers and Flyers met in Philadelphia on the final day of the regular
season last year with the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot up for
grabs, but it was the Flyers who advanced into the postseason with a 2-1
shootout victory. New York, despite its 38 wins and 87 points, missed out on
the postseason for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
Still, the Rangers did finish out the regular season with a 7-1-2 mark and
will hope that momentum carries over into this year. Another training camp
under head coach John Tortorella, who is entering his second full season as
New York's bench boss, should also help.
"I think it's just familiarity with me and me with them," Tortorella said on
Wednesday when asked why he has confidence in his team heading into the
regular season. "I think just being together; and last year we had to make
adjustments with our team concept as far as what we thought we be effective
for us. ... Some new guys here are learning it, but most of the team
It didn't take Marian Gaborik long to excel under Tortorella as he matched a
career-high with 42 goals last year while posting a personal-best 86 points.
The forward also stayed relatively healthy, skating in 76 games.
Joining the likes of Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky and super-pest Sean Avery up
front will be new-comers Alex Frolov and Ruslan Fedotenko.
Frolov is coming off just a 19-goal, 51-point performance with the Kings last
year, while Fedotenko didn't sign with the Rangers until Monday. They will
both be needed to contribute right away with Vinny Prospal (right knee) and
Chris Drury (broken left finger) both opening the season on injured reserve.
New York's forwards will have support behind them in form of defensemen
Michael Del Zotto and Marc Staal, as well as one of the top netminders in the
game in Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers netminder played in a career-high 73
games last year and went 25-27-10 with a 2.38 goals-against average while also
playing for Team Sweden in the Olympic Winter Games.
New York will have one noticeable absence on the blue line after placing the
disappointing Wade Redden on waivers. Signed to a six-year, $39 million
contract prior to 2008-09, Redden cleared and was assigned to the American
Former Sabre Tim Kennedy, who joined the Rangers this offseason, also cleared
waivers earlier this week, but he should be in the lineup against his old club
The defending Northeast Division-champion Sabres got their schedule off to a
good start on Friday night as they knocked off the Senators, 2-1. Derek Roy
scored both goals, including the game-winner on the power play with 9:48 left
in the third period.
Rookie Tyler Ennis assisted on both goals and reigning Vezina Trophy winner
Ryan Miller stopped 25-of-26 shots faced for Buffalo, which plays its next
four at home and went 25-10-6 as the host last year.
The Sabres have won three straight and six of their last eight over the
Rangers, though the clubs have split their last six meetings in Buffalo.
10/09 10:35:49 ET