The Rangers are coming off a crucial 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. They entered the third period down 2-1 and exploded for three goals in the third period and an empty net goal.
With hopes of a playoff push starting to dwindle, the Blueshirts are in a must win scenario against the leagues worst. Buffalo just snapped an 18 game winless drought with a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. With Buffalo playing in the second game of a back-to-back, the Rangers must take care of business Thursday night.
Ryan Strome is on a nine-game assist streak which is the third largest in Rangers history and he is the first since Brian Leetch. Strome’s 33 points are currently tied for tenth among centers in the NHL.
Igor Shesterkin will get the nod in goal. Shesterkin made 30 saves on 32 shots including some timely saves to help the Blueshirts secure the win. New York will have to rely upon the 25-year-old if they hope to make the playoffs.
Dustin Tokarski will make the start for Buffalo. Tokarski was called into action in the last meeting against the Blueshirts after starter Carter Hutton left in the first with an injury. Tokarski is currently 0-3-0 on the season.
Vitaly Kravtsov won’t make his NHL debut on Thursday but is a real possibility on Saturday. Kravtsov is expected to join the top nine when inserted into the lineup.
Brett Howden will likely being coming off the COVID protocol list if he passed a cardiac screening. Howden will skate on his own and won’t be available for both games in Buffalo.