The Rangers clash with the Buffalo Sabres at the Garden tonight. Here are three keys to watch for when the puck drops.
The Rangers power play has been anything but spectacular this season, but it has been improving. The Blueshirts tallied nine goals in 44 chances in February (a little over 20 percent) which is above the rather “meh” season average of 16.6. It stands to improve even more with the addition of Bryan McCabe to man the point. McCabe earned some praise in his debut with the Rangers Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. On the power play, the D-man had three goals and 16 assists with the Panthers before joining the Rangers.
Frequently knocked for their inability to put the puck in the net and without Derek Roy for the remainder of the season, you may be surprised to know the Sabres actually sit 12th in the NHL with 2.80 goals per game (ahead of the Rangers). They are particularly effective at even-strength, where their 1.12 five-on-five goal ratio is the sixth-best in the league, just behind the Detroit Red Wings. The Rangers shouldn’t sleep on the Sabres' scorers.
New Kid on the Block
The new Sabres ownership showed it is ready to spend when they acquired over-priced and underproductive Brad Boyes from the St. Louis Blues Monday. Boyes, who makes $4 million per season, has drastically fallen off his once-torrid goal-scoring pace (76 G between 2007-08 and ’08-’09). Can he get back on track in Buffalo? The Rangers will want to delay that resurrection for at least one night, as they battle to pull seven points ahead of Buffalo in the East standings.