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Rangers get homestand started against Sabres

by Tal Pinchevsky /

SABRES (2-11-1) at RANGERS (4-7-0)


Last 10: Buffalo 2-8-0; New York 4-6-0

Season series: This is the first of three meetings in this in-state rivalry. The Buffalo Sabres took two of three games against the New York Rangers last season, although four of the past 11 contests between these clubs have gone to extra time.

Big story: New York opens a four-game homestand after playing 10 of its first 11 on the road while Buffalo closes out October in the thick of a stretch that sees the Sabres play six of eight on the road. Both clubs have struggled with inconsistency and scoring. New York has won two of its past three games but ranks 29th in the NHL with 1.64 goals per game. The only team scoring fewer goals per game is Buffalo (1.57).

Team Scope:

Sabres: The biggest news for Buffalo took place off the ice this week, as co-captain Thomas Vanek was dealt to the New York Islanders for wing Matt Moulson and two draft picks. Moulson registered three consecutive 30-goal seasons with the Islanders and made his Sabres debut Monday against the Dallas Stars. It didn't take long for the newest Sabre to make his mark, as Moulson scored 3:26 into the contest, tying the game 1-1 just 27 seconds after Vernon Fiddler opened the scoring.

Dallas scored the next three goals before the Sabres staged a comeback late in the second, with Moulson earning his second goal of the night with 2:43 remaining in the period. Despite outshooting the Stars 9-5 in the third, Buffalo was unable to earn the equalizer and skated away with a 4-3 loss.

"That was the most nervous I've been for a game since probably my first game I played in the NHL," Moulson said. "I had butterflies in the stomach and [the first goal] kind of settled me down out there."

Rangers: New York couldn't get home fast enough after opening the season with a 3-6-0 month-long road trip necessitated by the final stages of Madison Square Garden's $1 billion facelift. After dropping their season opener 2-0 against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, the Rangers came back the following night when they visited the Islanders and their new arrival in Vanek.

Chris Kreider opened the scoring in the first before the Islanders scored consecutive goals in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Despite mustering just five shots in the period, the Rangers tied the game on Ryan McDonagh's power-play goal at 4:59 before Benoit Pouliot scored the game-winner off a quick wrist shot from the slot with 6:14 remaining.

"He's a big body so I tried to get in behind him and he made a good play," said Carl Hagelin, who assisted on the game-winner in his first game of the season. "I saw him wide open, pretty easy pass to make and he buried it."

Who's hot: Moulson has seven goals in his past seven games with the Sabres and Islanders. Cody Hodgson has three goal and four points in his past five games. … New York's goaltenders, Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot, have allowed 12 goals in the past six games. Pouliot has two goals and three points in his past three games.

Injury report: Corey Tropp (jaw) and Mike Weber (lower body) are out for Buffalo while forwards John Scott and Patrick Kaleta are serving suspensions. … Ryan Callahan (thumb), Rick Nash (head) and Dominic Moore (upper body) are out for the Rangers.

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