|BUF||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|NYR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
GAME: Buffalo Sabres (36-32-7-4) at New York Rangers (26-39-7-8).
TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Buffalo Sabres are playing in Manhattan on Wednesday, but they will also be pretty interested in what happens on Long Island.
The Sabres will look to inch closer to the eighth-place New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference playoff race when they visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Sabres are three points behind the Islanders in the race for the conference's final postseason spot. Both teams have three games remaining.
Buffalo beat Columbus 6-0 on Monday, extending its unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1). The Islanders, who host Montreal on Wednesday, have lost two straight since a four-game winning streak, allowing the Sabres to make up some ground.
"The pressure may be a little more on the Islanders," Buffalo center Daniel Briere said. "It's basically theirs to lose. We're just going out there trying to make it happen.
"We're going to look up," he added when asked if his team would be checking on the Islander score. "I think it's a good thing. It's extra motivation."
Dmitri Kalinin scored two goals Monday for the Sabres, who have gone 8-2-1-3 since the beginning of March, when they were 10 points behind the Islanders.
"We still need help," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "But we're trying to take care of our end of it at least to make it real tough on them."
The Rangers are coming off Tuesday's 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils - their ninth defeat in 10 games (1-6-0-3). Goalie Stephen Valiquette, making just his third appearance of the season and second as a Ranger, allowed all five goals. Captain Mark Messier missed the game with an injured right elbow.
STANDINGS: Sabres - 83 points, 5th place, 18 PB, Northeast Division. Rangers - 67 points, 4th place, 31 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Sabres - Miroslav Satan, 29 goals; Briere, 36 assists and 62 points; Andrew Peters, 136 PIM. Rangers - Jaromir Jagr, 31 goals, 43 assists and 74 points; Dale Purinton, 117 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 29): Sabres - Power play: 16.2 percent (58 for 359), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (283 for 335), 12th. Rangers - Power play: 13.9 percent (44 for 316), 27th. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (301 for 379), 29th.
GOALTENDERS: Sabres - Martin Biron (25-17-5, 2 SO, 2.55 GAA); Mika Noronen (11-16-2, 2, 2.45). Rangers - Mike Dunham (16-29-6, 2, 3.01); Jamie McLennan (12-12-3, 4, 2.32); Valiquette (1-1-0, 0, 3.58).
SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 31; Sabres, 3-1. At Buffalo, J.P. Dumont and Maxim Afinogenov each scored first period power-play goals for the Sabres, and Biron made 31 saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sabres - 15-20-3-1 on the road; Rangers - 13-20-3-4 at home.
|Mar 31 '04||BUF 4 at NYR 3||D. Kalinin|
|Jan 31 '04||NYR 1 at BUF 3||M. Afinogenov|
|Jan 30 '04||BUF 3 at NYR 1||C. Drury|
|Dec 12 '03||NYR 3 at BUF 1||A. Carter|