NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 5th
(All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (14-14-0) at Buffalo Sabres (6-20-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist's recent contract extension further
proved that it's good to be the king.
Lundqvist is slated to start Thursday night for New York one day after inking
his new deal as the Rangers visit the struggling Buffalo Sabres.
Set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, the 31-year-old
Lundqvist confirmed his future is in New York, signing a seven-year deal worth
a reported $59.5 million. The contract is likely to keep the 2012 Vezina
Trophy winner with the Rangers for the rest of his career.
"Two things were real clear to me," Lundqvist said on Wednesday of his
thoughts for the future. "No. 1 was I really want to win the (Stanley) Cup
here in New York. It's my biggest goal and my biggest dream and it pushes me
right now to work even harder. Secondly I want to be a Ranger for life. That
was a big thing that just became really clear to me because of how they've
"I can't wait to see the challenge here and try to bring the Cup here to New
York. I think we have a really great team."
Lundqvist is having a bit of a down season by his standards, going 8-11-0 with
a 2.51 goals against average and .917 save percentage in 20 games. However,
one of his two shutouts this season came on Oct. 31 at home versus the Sabres
as he halted 29 shots.
In 25 career meetings with Buffalo, Lundqvist is 13-10-2 with a 2.33 GAA.
The Swede is slated to return to the net for the first time in three games
after rookie backup Cam Talbot started the previous two. Talbot made 35 saves
in a 5-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday before yielding four goals on 29 shots
faced in a 5-2 setback to visiting Winnipeg on Monday.
The 26-year-old had allowed two or fewer goals in each of his first seven NHL
starts, winning the last six.
Ryan Callahan and Mats Zuccarello supplied the goals for New York, which split
a two-game homestand and is 14-14-0 on the season.
"We're definitely not getting the traction that I think we want, that I know
we want," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. "The only way we are going to
get traction and get better is by playing more consistent hockey.
"Is this team a .500 hockey club? We're certainly playing like one right now.
If we want to get off of the .500 mark we are going to have to start playing
New York fell to 5-6-0 at home this season and begins a nine-game homestand on
Saturday following this road tilt.
The Sabres come in having lost six of their last seven games, following up an
overtime win against Toronto with Saturday's 1-0 overtime setback to the New
Jhonas Enroth stopped the first 23 shots he faced, but got beat on a wrister
by the Devils' Steve Bernier with 40.2 seconds remaining in the extra frame.
The Sabres were outshot 24-15 in the game, logging seven of their shots in the
"It wasn't the most exciting hockey game, but when you come on the road,
that's what you want to do and overall, I like the way we competed from the
second period on," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.
Nolan is likely to have center Cody McCormick available for the first time
since Nov. 21 as he has been out with an upper-body injury. However, Matt
D'Agostini has not practiced due to illness and is questionable, while
defenseman Alexander Sulzer could sit out tonight due to an undisclosed injury
that has kept him out of practice this week.
Ryan Miller is the likely starter for the Sabres tonight and he gave up both
goals on 46 shots faced in the 2-0 loss on Oct. 31. He fell to 13-6-5 lifetime
versus the Rangers with a 2.32 GAA.
The Sabres have lost six of their last eight overall versus the Rangers,
including three of the past four at home.
12/05 10:30:17 ET