The Rangers conclude their six-game road trip tonight when they faceoff against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena (7:00 p.m.) in Buffalo. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 36-32-10 (82 pts.). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-1, on Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL, to improve to 4-0-1 on their current road trip and 5-0-1 in the last six games overall. The Sabres enter the contest with a 43-25-10 (96 pts.) record to rank third in the Eastern Conference. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers return to action on Wednesday, when they faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).

Game Notes
Each game keeps getting bigger for the Rangers, who enter tonight’s contest with a chance to take over the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. But, with the Flyers (84 pts.) and Thrashers (81 pts.) also in action tonight the Rangers need to just focus on what they can control: win their games.

It’s amazing how many times this team has been left for dead, only to show signs of life. Since losing to the Bruins two weeks ago, the Rangers have ripped off a 4-0-1 streak that has them on the cusp of getting back into eighth place. And the main reason the Rangers are still alive is because of their stellar 20-15-4 road record.

“We’ve been a good road team all year long,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “We wouldn’t be in this situation if we handled ourselves a little bit better at home.”

After tonight’s game, the Rangers have only three games remaining. With a home-and-home against the Flyers to conclude the regular season, the Rangers virtually control their own destiny. If they can win their last three games, in regulation, they’ll be playing postseason hockey. No, really, it’s true. I didn’t believe it at first either.

Injury Report
Forwards Ryan Callahan and Sean Avery are still considered day-to-day.

Quote of the Day – from Tortorella: “We can’t look back. … We need to look ahead and stay consistent no matter where we’re at right now.”

Hart Trophy candidate Ryan Miller is 4-1-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average in his last five starts against the Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist is 13-5-2 with a 2.04 GAA in his last 20 road games. While the Rangers have collectively been playing outstanding hockey as of late, it all starts at the back end with Lundqvist, who has started 13 consecutive games between the pipes. He has to be wearing down, and if it doesn’t show tonight, it will show on Wednesday against the Maple Leafs. Miller has been unbelievable this season, and with the chance to take sole possession of second in the East, Buffalo will prove to be a bump in the Rangers’ road to the playoffs.

Buffalo 3, Rangers 2

Shot Calling – In 9 career games against Buffalo entering tonight, Brandon Dubinsky has 4 goals and 6 assists, and his +/- is a +2.

Photo Credit: NY Post