Marc Staal played with a heavy heart.
Staal, who was away for his grandfather's funeral Friday and did not practice Friday or Saturday morning, took warm-ups and played Saturday night. Staal hasn't missed a game this season.
He flew back from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Saturday morning and played 18:50 with two blocks and two shots Saturday night.
"I was flying in this morning with the expectation that I was going to play," Staal said. "I didn't feel good but I got through it. This type of game [a 6-1 win], from my standpoint, was just what I needed."
With Staal and Matt Hunwick in the lineup, defenseman John Moore was a healthy scratch. Neither Hunwick nor Moore has solidified his grip on the seventh defenseman's slot, Alain Vigneault said. Moore has played only twice in the last eight games.
Tanner Glass, pointless in his last nine games, was scratched. Jesper Fast, who scored a goal, and J.T. Miller remained in the lineup.
By playing in his 605th game as a Ranger on Saturday night, Dan Girardi tied former captain and current broadcaster Dave Maloney for 19th place on the all-time list. Girardi, who played just 17:33 rather than his average of 23:58, could surpass Camille Henry (637) for 18th place later this season. He has played all 36 games this season and leads the team in ice time (23:58), hits (86) and blocked shots (75).
The Rangers are 4-0-0 against the Sabres since last season and have won nine of the last 10 against them dating to December 2011 . . . The Blueshirts finished with 39 shots and have scored at least three goals in 13 of the last 17 games.