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Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Rangers

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GAME: Buffalo Sabres (21-25-5-1) at New York Rangers (19-21-7-4).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

Another disappointing season for the New York Rangers is only getting worse.

Already missing three regular defensemen, the struggling Rangers will be without center Eric Lindros when they open a home-and-home series against the Buffalo Sabres.

Coming off a strong performance in a 5-2 victory over Florida on Monday, the Rangers were hoping to build momentum and pick up ground in the playoff race Wednesday against Washington.

A 32-save performance by Olaf Kolzig led the Capitals to a 2-1 victory and prevented New York from winning consecutive games for the first time in a month.

While their fifth loss in six games kept the Rangers 10th in the Eastern Conference, Lindros sustaining the eighth concussion of his career may have been the worst news of the season for New York.

Lindros took a hard hit along the boards from Capitals defenseman Jason Doig in the second period and was knocked to the ice. On his next shift, Lindros went after Doig and both received fighting majors.

"We've spoken to the doctor, (concussion specialist) Karen Johnston in Montreal," Rangers coach and general manager Glen Sather said. "These things are hard to judge. By her over-the-phone diagnosis after talking to our doctors, they don't think it's that severe."

Lindros, in his third season with the Rangers, has been playing his best hockey in years of late. The 1995 NHL MVP has 10 goals and 22 assists in 39 games.

Lindros joins defensemen Greg de Vries, Darius Kasparaitis and Vladimir Malakhov and forward Dan LaCouture on the Rangers' injury list. Malakhov, who has missed two games with a wrist problem, is the only one who could return Friday.

Starting goalie Mike Dunham has sat out the past three games after sustaining a mild concussion Jan. 28, but is expected to start Friday.

The Rangers and Sabres are two of several teams chasing the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East. Buffalo enters this home-and-home series one point back of the Rangers and two behind ninth-place Atlanta.

Martin Biron stopped 29 shots and Maxim Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik and Chris Drury scored third-period goals in the Sabres' 4-1 victory over Montreal on Tuesday.

It was the third win in four games for Buffalo, which has eight goals in its last two contests after managing seven in the previous five.

Biron, who has split time with Mika Noronen this season, has allowed five goals during a personal three-game win streak.

"The last four games is definitely a case of guys really laying it on the line," Biron said. "That's the desperation the guys are showing."

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