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Preview: Sabres at Rangers

Buffalo moving on without Johan Larsson; New York going for fourth straight win

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

SABRES (13-15-8) at RANGERS (26-12-1)



Sabres team scope

It's the second of a three-game road trip for the Buffalo Sabres, who are 1-4-2 in their past seven games. After being swept by the Boston Bruins in a home-and-home series, the Sabres received bad news Monday when coach Dan Bylsma announced center Johan Larsson is out indefinitely after having surgery in Boston to repair a dislocated wrist and elbow sustained after being hit into the boards during a 3-1 loss at TD Garden on Saturday. The Buffalo News reported Monday that Larsson told Gotland Newspapers in Sweden that he will miss the remainder of the season. "I think every center's role is going to increase with him being out," center Zemgus Girgensons said Tuesday. "It's nothing I haven't done, and other guys have done it. It's just another day of hockey."


Rangers team scope

The New York Rangers play their first game of the calendar year seeking their fourth straight win. "Our game is headed in the right direction," coach Alain Vigneault told the Rangers website Monday. "We're defending well and quick, the way we talked about prior to the season. Offensively we're getting contributions from different areas, different lines, and our [defensemen] are finding ways also to chip in, and our specialty teams have improved. What teams want to do is get better during the regular season and that's what we're doing right now. To tell you the truth, do we really have a choice? If you look at our division, how teams are winning, you've got to make sure your game is good and is improving."


Sabres projected lineup

Marcus Foligno -- Jack Eichel -- Kyle Okposo

Evander Kane -- Sam Reinhart -- Justin Bailey

William Carrier -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Derek Grant -- Matt Moulson

Josh Gorges -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Zach Bogosian

Justin Falk -- Cody Franson

Anders Nilsson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: None

Injured: Dmitry Kulikov (lower back), Johan Larsson (wrist, elbow), Ryan O'Reilly (appendectomy), Tyler Ennis (groin), Cody McCormick (blood clots)


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Kevin Hayes -- J.T. Miller

Nicklas Jensen -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Michael Grabner -- Marek Hrivik -- Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh -- Kevin Klein

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Dan Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Adam Clendening

Injured: Pavel Buchnevich (back), Rick Nash (groin), Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula), Matt Puempel (concussion-like symptoms)


Status report

Gorges, who left midway through the first period Saturday because of a hip injury, skated Tuesday morning and will be a game-time decision. Kulikov is expected to miss his third straight game. Nilsson will start for the first time since allowing five goals on 32 shots at the New York Islanders on Dec. 23. … The Rangers did not hold a morning skate Tuesday. Nash practiced Monday but is expected to miss his sixth straight game. "As soon as he says, 'I'm good to go,' I'm putting him in," Vigneault said. Buchnevich skated in a non-contact jersey Monday. Buchnevich, who hasn't played since Nov. 12, is closing in on being able to practice with contact, according to Vigneault. Jensen was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Monday. He leads Hartford with 14 goals and 24 points in 29 games.


Who's hot

Eichel has two goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. … Kreider had a hat trick in a 6-2 win at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday and has eight points (six goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak. McDonagh (one goal, six assists) also has a four-game point streak. Miller has three goals in his past two games, Zuccarello has nine assists during a six-game point streak. Stepan has four goals and five assists in his past six games.

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