NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 10th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (36-24-9) at Buffalo Sabres (32-27-10), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging New York Rangers will aim for their seventh victory in eight games tonight, when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for a battle at HSBC Arena.
The Rangers' recent hot streak has helped move them into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 81 points. New York is two points in back of Ottawa for the fifth spot and just one point ahead of Boston.
New York has not only won six of its last seven contests, but has also registered a point in 12 straight games, going 9-0-3 over that stretch.
The Blueshirts were in action Sunday against the visiting Bruins and posted a shootout victory. Nigel Dawes scored the only goal of the shootout and Henrik Lundqvist posted his ninth shutout of the season, as the Rangers edged Boston, 1-0, to take over sole possession of sixth place in the East.
After Brendan Shanahan and Marco Sturm each failed to score in the first round of the shootout, Dawes fired a wrister from the slot that beat Alexander Auld and tucked into the corner of the net to put the Rangers ahead.
Lundqvist, who made 29 saves in the win, then stopped Phil Kessel, and after Chris Drury failed to put the game away for New York, Lundqvist kicked away David Krejci's wrister.
Chris Drury will play his second game in Buffalo since leaving the Sabres to sign a free-agent deal with New York in the offseason. His first stop to HSBC Arena came on February 23 and the centerman notched an assist in a 4-3 win for the Rangers.
Drury spent three seasons with the Sabres and notched a career-high 37 goals with Buffalo last year. The 31-year-old Trumbull, Connecticut native has 22 goals and 48 points with the Rangers this season.
Tonight's test marks the first of three straight on the road for New York, which is 14-11-8 as the visiting club this season, but has won seven of nine as the visitors. The Rangers will also make stops at Florida and Tampa Bay during this swing.
Meanwhile, the Sabres have lost two straight and four of their last five games and have fallen four points behind Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Buffalo had moved within a point of the Flyers after posting a 5-2 decision in Philly last Tuesday, but consecutive setbacks to Washington and Carolina helped in widening the gap.
The Sabres were handed a close loss at Carolina on Saturday, as Scott Walker scored the game winner with 2:10 left in overtime to lift the Hurricanes to a 4-3 decision over visiting Buffalo.
Derek Roy scored a goal and had an assist, while Drew Stafford and Toni Lydman each had a goal for the Sabres. Ryan Miller received the loss after allowing four goals on 35 shots.
Jason Pominville was held off the scoresheet in the loss, ending his 10-game point streak, which had been the longest current stretch in the NHL.
The Sabres are 17-13-4 as the host team this year, but have lost three straight and five of their last six tests at HSBC Arena.
The Rangers have won all three meetings with Buffalo this year and tonight will try for the season sweep of the Sabres. Buffalo has still taken five of the last nine games in the series and the Rangers have been defeated in four of their previous six stops at HSBC Arena.
03/10 10:38:11 ET