Rangers try to extend road streak in Buffalo

( - The New York Rangers hope to extend a pair of winning streaks on Friday night when they visit the Buffalo Sabres in a makeup contest at First Niagara Center.

This contest was originally scheduled for Nov. 21, but heavy snow in Buffalo forced the game's postponement.

The clubs have since met once at Madison Square Garden, with the Rangers extending their series winning streak over the Sabres to five in a row with a 6-1 win on Jan. 3. Derick Brassard, Rick Nash and Dan Boyle each had a goal and an assist during a four-goal first period.

The Blueshirts have outscored the Sabres 21-7 over the five straight wins and have taken nine of the previous 11 meetings overall. That includes four of the past five in Buffalo.

New York will not only try to extend its run over Buffalo, but also pick up a fifth straight road victory. The Rangers netted 22 goals over a four-game swing from Feb. 10-16, but saw that run end with a 5-4 shootout loss at home to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

The Canucks got the game-tying goal with two minutes left in regulation and both Alexandre Burrows and Radim Vrbata scored in the shootout on Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot. Ryan Miller, meanwhile, made stops on Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan.

Nash scored for the eighth time in 10 games, giving him 36 on the season to rank second in the NHL, while Stepan, Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin all had goals. Talbot finished with 24 saves.

"I just thought we were inconsistent," Stepan said of the Rangers' effort in a game they led 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3.

The point does have the Rangers tied for second in the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals. The two clubs are five points back of the first- place New York Islanders and one up on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

New York is 5-1-2 since losing No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a neck injury, with Talbot having started all eight games since. It is unknown if Talbot will face the Sabres for the first time in his career tonight or if backup MacKenzie Skapski will make his NHL debut.

The Sabres were also in action last night, with the club picking up only its second win in its past 17 on the road with a 3-2 shootout decision over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Each side scored once through the first three rounds, then after Sean Couturier failed on his wrister, the Sabres' Brian Flynn used two quick dekes to pull Ray Emery out of position and slide the deciding goal inside the right post.

Nicolas Deslauriers and Brian Gionta scored in regulation for the Sabres, who snapped a four-game slide in a game that saw Gionta become the 49th American- born player to reach 500 career points.

Michal Neuvirth came up with a 36-save effort to halt his personal 11-decision losing streak (0-10-1) and win for the first time since Nov. 15.

Buffalo played in its sixth straight one-goal game, going 2-3-1 in that span.

"As far as points are concerned, certainly, it's good to get the two points," said Sabres head coach Ted Nolan. "For the last number of games, I thought our effort has been there. All one-goal games, and to finally come out on the better side of it is a good feeling for sure."

Neuvirth was pulled after less than 13 minutes of action in the January loss to the Rangers and Anders Lindback could get the call in net tonight for his Sabres debut.

Lindback was acquired from the Dallas Stars on Feb. 11 for goaltender Jhonas Enroth and is 0-2-0 lifetime versus the Rangers with a 3.25 goals against average and .886 save percentage in three games (2 starts).