After a hard-fought defeat in Winnipeg, the Rangers look to bounce back against the Buffalo Sabres (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).
The first period in Winnipeg was one the Rangers would like to forget. The Blueshirts found themselves in a hole down 2-0 having allowed 19 shots. In the previous game against the Maple Leafs, the Rangers allowed 22 shots after the first period. In the second period, the Rangers were resilient and evened the score heading into the third. Early in the third period, Mika Zibanejad scored his second of the game and gave the Blueshirts the lead. But the lead wouldn’t last and the Jets would ultimately win the game 4-3. Henrik Lundqvist finished the game with 32 saves.
“I thought we fought right until the end,” said Kevin Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk registered a primary assist on Zibanejad’s third period goal.
“I think we’ve shown during the year that we can compete against those guys,” Zibanejad said. “I think this year has been I think very different from last year. I feel like we’re in every game. We might not play our best, but we’re trusting our system, we’re trusting each other. And we show that we can compete against any team in the league.”
“It’s really disappointing because for 40 minutes we played really well and hard…,” said head coach David Quinn. “I think it is a good sign the way we battled back. We turned the switch on which isn’t that easy to do when you play that poorly in the first.”
Since the game, the Blueshirts sent Vinni Lettieri to Hartford and called up Connor Brickley. Brickley was acquired from the Predators in January for Cole Schneider. Brickley will play on a line with Boo Nieves and Filip Chytil.
After a 55 save performance against the Maple Leafs, Alexandar Georgiev will start in Buffalo. Georgiev will look for his third straight win; all against Atlantic Division opponents.
“You want to get him back in, and every decision is based on what’s best for both of them, not just one guy,” Quinn said of Georgiev and Lundqvist. “Georgie’s playing well, he’s a young kid that we want to continue to see what he can do and develop, continue to prove himself at this level. And I also think Georgie playing a little bit more down the last stretch here will make Hank better. I think they both will benefit from that.”\
In both meetings against the Sabres, each team has won once by the score 3-1 with the winning team’s goaltender stealing the show. Carter Hutton made 43 saves on October 6th and Lundqvist made 39 saves on November 4th.
In Georgiev’s only career start against the Sabres last March, the now 23-year-old made 43 saves in a 5-1 victory. Georgiev will face Linus Ullmark who has won three of his past four starts.
Freddy Claesson is “a lot closer to playing” according to Quinn, but he won’t play in tonights game.