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Rangers aim to match Sabres' attack

The equation becomes tricky when factoring in that the Rangers eye two Eastern Conference rivals that are ahead of them while trying to hold off the four teams that trail the seventh seed.

It is merely a mathematical formula. The Rangers have 18 games in which to earn a minimum of 20 points in order to qualify for the playoffs.

But the equation becomes tricky when factoring in that the Rangers eye two Eastern Conference rivals that are ahead of them while trying to hold off the four teams that trail the seventh seed. One of the four is tonight’s opponent, Buffalo. The Sabres are ninth in the East with 65 points, five behind the Rangers.

The Rangers are 11-13-2 in the new year with their longest winning streak peaking at three games.

The team is aware of the arithmetic.

“Obviously we don’t want to be in seventh. We want to keep winning games and making our way up in the standings,” Dan Girardi said after Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Tampa Bay. “We are not thinking about who we would be playing. We are just trying to get wins and move up in the standings.”

“Every game feels intense right now. It is important to get points,” added Henrik Lundqvist.

That task became tougher as reserve goaltender Martin Biron was lost to a broken collarbone suffered in yesterday’s practice. Biron was 8-6-0 with a .923 save percentage and 2.13 goals against in 17 games this season. The organization called up Cam Talbot from the ECHL Greenville, S.C. Talbot had a 1-0-1 record with a 2.46 GAA and .921 save percentage with the Road Warriors. He also played 13 games for AHL Connecticut in which he went 8-3-2, had a 2.42 goals against and .919 save percentage.

Do not expect to see much of Talbot. Not with 18 games left and a playoff berth at stake. Lundqvist has played in 50 games and boasts a 25-21-4 record, a .922 save percentage, 2.33 goals against and leads the NHL with eight shutouts.

As tough as the last two months have been for the Rangers, it has been a watershed week for the Sabres. Terry Pegula was introduced as the new owner of the franchise last Tuesday. In his introductory press conference, he vowed that money would not be an issue for an organization that has historically not been able to compete on the same financial plane as other organizations. Sunday, GM Darcy Regier acquired Brad Boyes from St. Louis for a third-round draft pick.

Ostensibly brought in to bolster Buffalo’s 12th-ranked offensive attack, Boyes totaled 12 goals and 41 points in 62 games with St. Louis this season. He has 145 goals and 335 points in 472 NHL games but is a career minus-15.

 
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