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New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres

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GAME: New York Rangers (4-2-3) at Buffalo Sabres (5-2-0).

TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Jaromir Jagr has scored in six straight games, and leads the NHL in goals and points.

He will try to continue his hot streak when the Rangers visit the Buffalo Sabres, who are off to their best home start in more than 20 years.

In 60 career games against Buffalo, Jagr has 35 goals and 43 assists. However, he is scoreless in his last five games against the Sabres with a minus-5 rating dating to Feb. 26, 2003.

Jagr recorded his first three-goal game in more than 32 months Thursday night during the Rangers' 5-4 loss to the Islanders. Jagr has scored eight goals and added two assists during his scoring streak and leads the league with 10 goals and 14 points.

He also has taken advantage of the new rules designed to increase scoring. Jagr has a league-high eight power-play goals. In 2003-04, he had 10 power-play goals in 77 games with New York and the Washington Capitals.

The Sabres are looking for their first four-game home winning streak to start the season since the 1984-85 season, when they opened 8-0-1.

Buffalo returns home after winning two of three on the road. Daniel Briere snapped the Sabres' 0-for-27 slump on the power play with his team-high sixth goal, and Ryan Miller made 29 saves in a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

The Sabres have scored 13 of their 23 goals at home this season and are locked in a four-way tie for first place in the Northeast Division.

Miller, who has started all seven games this season, has never faced the Rangers. Backup Martin Biron is 6-2-2, including three straight victories, with a 2.32 goals-against average in his career against New York.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 20): Rangers - 31 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Sabres - 23 points, 1st place (tied), Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 10 goals and 14 points; Martin Straka, 11 assists; Darius Kasparaitis, 18 PIM. Sabres - Briere, 6 goals and 8 points; Thomas Vanek, 6 assists; Jochen Hecht, 12 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 20): Rangers - Power play: 22.9 percent (14 for 61), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.3 percent (55 for 63), 6. Sabres - Power play: 12.0 percent (6 for 50), 24. Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (25 for 31), 21.

GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist (3-0-2, 1 SO, 1.36 GAA); Kevin Weekes (1-2-1, 0, 3.75). Sabres - Miller (5-2-0, 0, 2.94); Biron (no appearances).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Sabres, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: March 31, 2004; Rangers, 4-3. At New York, Hecht had two goals and two assists for Buffalo.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 1-2-1 on the road; Sabres - 3-0-0 at home.


Associated Press
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