The lake-effect storm started Thursday night and dumped nearly two feet of snow across parts of western New York state. A college football game between Buffalo and Miami of Ohio scheduled for Saturday was postponed and may be canceled if it cannot be played Sunday.
Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert said a decision to play this contest will be made Saturday afternoon. Gilbert also said the Rangers confirmed plans to travel to Buffalo after the city’s airport was reopened Friday afternoon and the team was notified its hotel has power.
Given how they’ve played in the early part of the season, the Sabres may want to play this game regardless of the circumstances. With a 3-2 shootout win over Detroit on Friday night, Buffalo (4-0-0) is off to its best start since winning eight in a row to start the 1975-76 season.
Trailing 2-0, Chris Drury scored a power-play goal late in the first period and Thomas Vanek added a goal with the man advantage with 2:12 to play in the second. Ales Kotalik netted the game-winner in the fourth round of the shootout.
Ryan Miller finished with 41 saves for Buffalo, which was outshot 43-17, and won in shootout for the third time this season.
“I just tried to forgive myself. I know the guys would forgive me,” said Miller about giving up the two first-period goals.
Miller was 2-0-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average in three games versus the Rangers last season.
Dating back to last season, the Sabres have won nine regular-season games in a row—their longest streak since a franchise-record 10 straight from Jan. 4-23, 1984.
New York (2-2-0), meanwhile, will try to avoid its third straight loss and improve a shaky power-play unit.
The Rangers allowed two power-play goals in 17 chances en route to winning its first two games. In losses to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, though, the Rangers have given up five power-play tallies in 14 opportunities.
New York’s penalty-killing unit faltered late Thursday, allowing Sidney Crosby’s power-play score with 3.3 seconds left in regulation of a 6-5 loss to the Penguins.
“It is frustrating but we dont have time to deflate,” said Brendan Shanahan. “We have to play a good Buffalo team on the road. Sometimes a game like that is good for times like this. Playing a team you have a good healthy respect for might be good for a time like this.”
Shanahan has tallied a point in all four games for New York this season, totaling four goals and two assists. In his last six games against the Sabres dating to 1999, Shanahan has three goals and six assists.
Jaromir Jagr, who had 123 points last season to finish second in the NHL in scoring behind San Jose’s Joe Thornton, has picked up where he left off. Jagr has two goals and six assists, tying him with Chicago’s Martin Havlat and Florida’s Olli Jokinen for the league scoring lead.
Jagr has 38 goals and 46 assists in 65 career games against the Sabres.
New York and Buffalo split four games last season, with both of the Rangers’ wins coming in shootouts.