Coming off a badly needed win, Chris Drury and the New York Rangers would really like to end a pair of droughts Saturday night.
Drury makes his latest return to Buffalo looking to break the longest goal-scoring slump of his career and help the Rangers avoid their worst road losing streak in a single season in 44 years.
Criticism from the New York media and fans was growing louder recently with the Rangers (31-22-6) having lost eight of nine overall, getting outscored 33-13, going into a matchup with the New York Islanders on Wednesday. The Rangers came away with a 3-1 victory - their first in regulation since Jan. 27 against Carolina - as Drury assisted on all three goals.
"Right now we're 1-0 and that's what we're taking into a very good Buffalo team on Saturday," Drury said. "A fresh start and hopefully this gets us going."
Maybe the three-point night can get Drury going after he totaled three points - all assists - in his previous 12 games. He has no goals in 13 games since scoring twice in a 3-2 win at Chicago on Jan. 16.
Since that victory, Drury's team has nine goals in seven road games, losing them all to post its worst road losing streak in one season since 2001-02. Other than an eight-game slide bridging the two seasons before this one, the Rangers haven't dropped eight in a row away from home since losing nine straight from Jan. 19-Feb. 13, 1965.
Their only visit to Buffalo this season was a 2-1 loss Jan. 9 as Drury missed on the Rangers' third and final shootout attempt. He's failed to score in all six games he's played against the Sabres since leaving them via free agency following the 2006-07 season.
New York has been outscored 26-6 in the last seven road games while going 1-for-21 on the power play, though it did score with the man advantage for just the second time in 39 chances Wednesday.
"Tonight I thought the guys were alert and wanted to win it badly," said coach Tom Renney, whose Rangers are fifth in the Eastern Conference but have three teams - including the Sabres - within two points of them.
New York hopes to build some momentum as it faces a Buffalo club struggling on the penalty kill. The Sabres (30-23-6) have given up at least one power-play goal in seven straight games, a stretch during which their opponents are 9-for-22 (40.9 percent) with a manpower advantage.
Buffalo surrendered two power-play goals for the second consecutive game Thursday in a 6-3 loss at Philadelphia, including the go-ahead tally with 6:09 to play.
"Mentally we weren't ready for the penalty kill," said Sabres center Derek Roy, who had a goal and an assist.
Roy scored the tying goal last month against the Rangers as Buffalo won for the second time in as many meetings this season after losing all four in 2007-08.
Ryan Miller was in net for both victories over New York but has been inconsistent lately, posting a 3.13 goals-against average as Buffalo has lost four of six.
Counterpart Henrik Lundqvist has yielded two goals or fewer in six of his last eight starts. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.98 GAA in his last five starts versus the Sabres.