Winger Mats Zuccarello will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. D Matt Gilroy will sit for the third game in a row.
The projected lines: Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan; Prospal-Stepan-Gaborik; Prust-Boyle-Fedotenko; Wolski-Christensen-Avery
The D-pairs: Staal-Girardi; McDonagh-Sauer; McCabe-Eminger
For the Sabres, defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani, summoned from the AHL, will quarterback their power play with Jordan Leopold hurt. Johan Hecht, Shaone Morrisonn and Mike Grier out of the lineup as well.
The Forgotten First
Derek Stepan said he has forgotten most of what happened in the visitors’ locker room on opening night here before he scored a hat trick. “I remember what the locker room looked like, and I can tell you where I was sitting, over there, but not too much of the game, everything was going so fast.”
The three goals in his NHL debut “definitely took a while to sink in, maybe three of four days… I’m still learning, it’s a different atmosphere this part of the year. It’s going to have some sort of special feeling, I don’t know how long it’s going to last.”
Stepan, who scored his 20th of the season against Boston, said a lot has changed. “It’s what Game 77 tonight? ….the way I prepare, the style of the game. Games like in Boston, 1-0, you’re not going to see many mistakes, the first game of the year, you saw a little more breakdowns. It’s tighter now, it’s a battle.”
Lindy Ruff: “I think it will be tight. I don’t see them giving up a lot, so in our case, we have to take better care of the puck than we did last night. I think these are the games that are fun to play. You’ve got to have fun playing them. You’ve got to go after it. We’re not going to change our style; our style has got us to where we’re at right now. I've told the team "Get on your toes, be ready to play.’”
John Tortorella, asked about this game and one against the Islanders tomorrow:
“I’m not even thinking of the back-to-back, I’m thinking of the Buffalo team. Whatever games come our way, that’s the game we’re thinking about. I think Buffalo is going to be better tonight than they were yesterday, so it’ll be a tough game for us."
Seen and Heard….
Sean Avery’s mom, all smiles, was in the corridor visiting her son after practice, and brought a goodie bag from Ontario….Lindy Ruff was in the stands signing a jersey for a fan’s family and another fan, wearing a blue No. 28 Bryan McCabe Rangers sweater, asked for Ruff to pose with him for a picture. “You’ll have to take that jersey off,” Ruff said. “Kidding. I used to be a Rangers fan.”…Former Sabre Jim Schoenfeld caught up with Rupp near the bench during practice…Stick company rep was speaking to Wojtek Wolski about the weight of his lumber. Wolski declined an offer to add four grams to his blade…I answered some emails about undrafted free agent center Stephane DaCosta, who just finished his sophomore year in Merrimack, and is huddling with his agents in Toronto, fielding questions from team execs. DaCosta, born in France, has met with the Flyers, Bruins, Leafs, Senators, Wild and several other teams who are believed to have the inside track on signing him. Almost every team, including the Rangers, have expressed some interest.