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Wednesday, January 16th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (19-18-6) at New York Rangers (21-20-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - It has been a while since the Buffalo Sabres posted a victory. The New York Rangers haven't been much better as of late. One team will find the win column tonight, as the two franchises are set to square off at Madison Square Garden.

The Sabres were defeated in a shootout, 3-2, by New Jersey on Saturday, the club's franchise-record ninth straight defeat. What has to be frustrating for Buffalo is how close it is coming to victory. The Sabres have lost five games via a shootout during their current skid, including each of their last three contests.

Over the weekend, both Zach Parise and Patrik Elias managed to fake shots against Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller before tucking the puck past him. Parise scored on the forehand, while Elias slid a backhand shot between the netminder's pads to win it for the Devils.

Meanwhile, New Jersey's Martin Brodeur was perfect in the shootout against two Buffalo skaters.

Dan Paille had both goals for Buffalo, which played without injured regulars Maxim Afinogenov (groin), Derek Roy (shoulder) and Tim Connolly (groin). Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek was also sidelined due to back spasms.

Afinogenov is currently on injured reserve, while Connolly and Roy are both doubtful for tonight's game. Spacek is questionable.

Paille is doing his best to pick up the slack, as he has three goals and five assists over his last nine games. The 23-year-old has already skated in a career-high 39 games this year and has a personal best in points with 19 (8 goals, 11 assists).

Miller ended with 23 saves on the night for the Sabres, who won the Presidents' Trophy last year as the NHL's best team during the regular season. The nine-game winless streak is the longest for Buffalo since going 0-10 with two ties from October 25-November 19, 2002.

The Sabres, who haven't won since a 6-5 shootout win in Philadelphia on December 22, are 8-10-4 on the road this year.

New York is also struggling, and finds itself last in the Atlantic Division with 47 points. The Rangers have lost six of their last seven games, including a 4-1 setback in Pittsburgh on Monday.

The Rangers failed to contain Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, who posted his second career hat trick in the Penguins' win.

Jaromir Jagr provided the lone goal for the Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals on 22 shots in the loss.

New York played without veteran forward Brendan Shanahan for the second straight game while he heals from a knee injury suffered last week. Shanahan, who is questionable for tonight, leads the Rangers with 15 goals and is fourth on the team with 30 points.

Shanahan has 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points in 34 career games against Buffalo.

The Rangers will look to improve on their 14-10-0 home record tonight before returning to the road for a Saturday afternoon test in Boston.

The Sabres went 4-0 against New York last year and have won five of six and nine of the previous 11 encounters with the Blueshirts. Buffalo has also posted victories in five of its last six stops at MSG.

01/16 10:34:38 ET


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