Some matchups to watch tonight as the Ranger try to extend their road streak to three games here in Buffalo...
1. Henrik Lundqvist vs. Jonas Enroth. Ryan Miller has a sinus infection, and Enroth---0-10-3 in his last 16 appearances with his win being a 5-1 rout over the Capitals on Nov. 26, 2011, gets the nod. But for those who don’t recall, Enroth’s first career shutout was when the stopped 23 Rangers shots on March 23, 2011 in a 1-0 blanking.
2. Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh against Tomas Vanek (13-16-29) and Cody Hodgson (10-11-21). With Tyler Ennis injured, not much offense elsewhere from the Sabres. Many folks like Steve Ott’s overall game though, and Nathan Gerbe can dart around and find the net.
3. Six-foot-eight John Scott (five games as a Ranger last season) vs. Micheal Haley. Over-under on when they drop em? Second period.
Same lineup, so Stu Bickel will be scratched for the second straight game. Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy will be the third d-pair…Arron Asham (back spasms) was riding the bike, but didn’t skate and will miss his 10thgame.
Lines: Hagelin-Richards-Nash; Gaborik-Stepan-Callahn; Miller-Boyle-Pyatt; Powe-Halpern-Haley.
The fact that Patrick Kaleta, serving a five-game suspension for boarding Brad Richards from behind in the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout win on March 3, won’t dress last night didn’t bother the Rangers center. “It’s over and done with as far as I’m concerned,” Richards said. “The league took care of what we thought they’d take care of, and we’re here to win a hockey game.”
Richards has two goals in two games since sitting out with what he described as neck and back pain from the hit. Coach John Tortorella said Richards’ second goal, late in the third-period of the 4-1 victory in Washington Sunday was “a nothing goal…but for Brad Richards or any goal scorer, they like to score. His game has been coming along. He’s come right back after a pretty scary incident.”
D Roman Hamrlik, claimed on waivers from the Capitals last Wednesday, will not go to Connecticut (AHL) for conditioning as Steve Eminger did. He will tough it out with Rangers assistant Jim Schoenfeld. “We’re in the middle of doing it ourselves with Hammer,” Tortorella said. “It’s very important that he spend some time with that part of it before we even consider getting him back in the lineup…He’ll be begging to play,” Tortorella said.
J.T. Miller, who has said that Sabres coach Ron Rolston taught him everything he knows about hockey while with the U.S. National Development program two years ago, was praised by Rolston. “The maturity isn’t there a lot of times in their decision-making process, but he has really grown a lot I think in all areas, and that’s probably been one of the biggest hurdles that he’s jumped over. He’s an exceptional talent. The sky’s the limit in what he can do and his ability. He skates, he’s extremely competitive. He can finish. He can make plays. He’ll sacrifice for his teammates. In terms of a total package, that’s a home run.”