5 NHL Questions: St. Louis searches for first goal as a Ranger

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres look to continue their stellar post-Olympics play, while Martin St. Louis gets another shot at his first goal as a New Yorker.

1. Is it finally Cory Schneider's time in New Jersey?

Martin Brodeur wasn't moved at the trade deadline, but that doesn't mean he's still going to start for the Devils moving forward. With New Jersey in the thick of a playoff race (just two points shy of eighth-place Detroit, their opponents on Friday), all signs point to Schneider taking the reigns in New Jersey's crease. Schneider has been the better goalie all season, and it's now over never for the Devils as far as the playoff race is concerned.

2. Can Roberto Luongo cool down the Sabres?

The Buffalo Sabres aren't quite doing this whole rebuild thing the most conventional way. After waiting a few years to initiate the process, Buffalo traded away virtually all of its current assets at deadline, shipping off Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Matt Moulson, and Jaroslav Halak. And what has that led to? Buffalo has gone 4-1 since the Olympic break ended, with their only loss coming to the Stars. On Friday night, they'll face a new-look Panthers team with the freshly re-acquired Roberto Luongo expected to make his first start for Florida since April 18, 2006.

3. Does Martin St. Louis get his first goal as a Ranger?

While his Rangers debut was an effective showing, St. Louis failed to find his way onto the scoresheet, and the Rangers ultimately fell to the Maple Leafs in overtime. St. Louis and the Rangers will be back in night when they travel to Carolina Friday night for a Staal family reunion, and another shot for the Rangers' newly acquired forward to light the lamp, and help the Rangers jockey for position in the Eastern Conference.

4. How does Sidney Crosby respond to a minus-5?

The Penguins blew a 2-0 lead Saturday night in San Jose, and Sidney Crosby was on the ice for all five Shark goals, ending the game with a career-worst minus-5 rating. The Penguins, meanwhile, now have a slim one-point lead over the Bruins in the East for the top spot. Opposite of them Friday, the Ducks are also being chased for their top spot in the West, with the surging Blues only two points back of Anaheim. Crosby meanwhile has been held without a point eight times in his last 16 games, after having eight such scoreless outings in his first 46 games of this season.

5. Who wins the battle of bottom-dwellers?

When the Islanders travel to Calgary Friday night, what's on the line isn't position in a playoff race, but a competition of a different kind: the loser of this game will come out with the fourth-worst record in the league. (Unless the Islanders lose in overtime, in which case, the Flames will still hold an inferior record.) Calgary will raise Joe Nieuwendyk's number 25 into the rafters, which in theory should give them some added jump, if you're of the train of thought playing better is the objective for Calgary.

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