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Rangers need to recover to keep up with speedy Sabres



NYR 42-30-10 21-15-5 21-15-5 15-12-5 36-26-10

BUF 53-22-7 28-10-3 25-12-4 18-11-3 47-19-6

· Complete Standings


Team Stat Comparison


19 Goals 22

11 Goals Against 13

6 Power Play Goals 5

2 Power Play Goals Allowed 3

0 Shorthanded Goals 0

0 Shorthanded Goals Allowed 0

93 Penalty Minutes 54

19 Average Penalty Minutes 9


Goalie Breakdown


Henrik Lundqvist 5 4 10 2.00 1 125 .926

Ryan Miller 6 5 13 2.18 0 155 .923


Team Stat Leaders


G Michael Nylander 4 Chris Drury 4

A Michael Nylander 6 Dainius Zubrus 6

PTS Michael Nylander 10 Dainius Zubrus 6

PIM Sean Avery 25 Jaroslav Spacek 8

SOG Brendan Shanahan 25 Jochen Hecht 22

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Jaromir Jagr's calm demeanor gradually gave way to agitation.


Standing in the middle of the New York Rangers locker room Thursday, Jagr grew weary with the line of questioning now that his team finds itself trailing a series for the first time this postseason.


"It's the same question over and over: 'Do we have to change something?" Jagr said, raising his voice slightly.


"Yes," he said. "And if we're going to have to change something, it's up to us."


Jagr didn't go into much detail about what changes the Rangers will have to make for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at Buffalo on Friday.


What's evident is that New York -- coming off a first-round sweep of Atlanta -- suddenly faces its first test this postseason, needing to muster a considerable response after being outplayed in a 5-2 loss to the top-seeded Sabres on Wednesday.


Too many penalties and turnovers, and not enough speed cost the Rangers, who faltered in failing to contain the Sabres' potent transition attack. Buffalo took control by scoring three goals on four shots in a span of 4:05 in the second period.


The Rangers were evenly split in crediting the Sabres for their performance and blaming themselves for what went wrong.


"We made our bed last night and we're fully aware of that," coach Tom Renney said. "At the same time, we have to recognize that Buffalo played very well. But we helped beat ourselves."


Four penalties in the first period, and six through two periods didn't help. The Rangers also wore down defensively, allowing the Sabres to start skating untouched through the neutral zone.


The five goals allowed, including an empty-netter, were one shy of the number the Rangers gave up in four games against Atlanta. And the loss put a sudden halt to a New York team that had been on a roll, going 17-3-4 in its previous 24 games dating to the regular season.


The Sabres, by comparison, are confident they're beginning to hit their stride, shedding whatever tentativeness that limited them in eliminating the New York Islanders in five games in the first round.


"I hope so," Sabres co-captain Chris Drury said. "But we don't really look at it in terms like that. It's one game, one win. ... I'm sure they're going to come out absolutely flying. We expect nothing less."


Buffalo's deep and talented lineup proved too much. Led by Thomas Vanek's two goals, the Sabres got production from each of their four lines and added another on the power play.


Through six playoff games, 12 of Buffalo's 18 skaters have scored a goal, while 17 have registered at least one point after Jochen Hecht earned his first assist Wednesday.


The balanced attack is enough for coach Lindy Ruff to shy away from numbering his lines from 1 to 4.


"I don't want to put a number on the lines because I don't think you really can," Ruff said. "I liked a lot of things about the game. I liked the energy in the game. I liked the effort."


The Rangers are mostly a three-line team that needs to get a better defensive effort from its second line, featuring center Martin Straka and wingers Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery. Although Shanahan scored a goal, the Straka line was on the ice for three of Buffalo's five goals.


The Rangers might also be minus a key player after Michal Rozsival, New York's best offensive defenseman, did not return after hurting his leg in Game 1. Rozsival missed practice Thursday and is listed as day-to-day.


The Rangers vow they can play better, especially after playing their first game in seven days.


"The sharpness and the ability to do it over 60 minutes really wasn't there," said Shanahan. "We feel we not only have to play better, but we can."

Blueshirts irked at being counted out







Friday, April 27th 2007, 4:00 AM





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Read John Dellapina's The Blueshirts Blog



BUFFALO - It took just one game - or only 4:05 of one game, to be precise - for everything to change.


Just that quickly, the Buffalo Sabres were the champions-elect again - a team so swift and skilled that the '84-85 Oilers wouldn't have been able to keep up with them.


That quickly, the Rangers were overmatched underdogs again. And their inherently inferior game was in shambles - a relentless two months of evidence to the contrary having been trumped by a series of second-period brain cramps.


Of course, in the NHL playoffs, everything can change back again just as suddenly. Especially when one of the things that switched sides during Wednesday night's Game 1 victory by the Sabres was the chip on the shoulder that apparently motivated the home team.


The Rangers were careful not to say so publicly, what with Tom Renney still being scolded here for not conceding the series before it began. But more than a few Rangers were ticked yesterday at the dismissive tone of the questions they fielded from reporters following the teams' HSBC Arena practices in preparation for tonight's Game 2.


Cool-headed Brendan Shanahan put it all in perspective when he said: "In the playoffs, you just have to get through days like this." Which is what the Rangers tried to do in a self-critical but positive pre-practice meeting.


"There was a big disappointment in our room this morning before the meeting," Renney said. "With all due respect to Buffalo, I think our guys felt that we really needed to be better ... and that we, as much as anything, cost ourselves the hockey game."


In drawing upon their stretch-run experience, the Rangers pointed to their having immediately bounced back from seemingly crushing defeats such as the Feb. 17 battering by Philadelphia or the Feb. 24 collapse against Columbus.


"We usually responded well after" a tough loss, Shanahan said. "You think you have to do these remarkable, crazy things in the playoffs. You really don't. You just have to draw on the best hockey you've played."


Which certainly didn't include Wednesday night's penalty-filled, self-defeating performance in Game 1.


"We know what we did (Wednesday) night. It wasn't as if they pounded us," said center Matt Cullen, whose title run with Carolina last season included digging out of an 0-2 hole against Montreal in the first round and winning seventh games against Buffalo in the conference finals and Edmonton in the Cup finale. "We played poorly. We made mistakes. We didn't play smart. When we did play well, we were pretty effective.


"So we know there are a few things we need to correct. But we're not out of it."


Let's Go Rangers!!!! :rock:

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Did anyone else listen to me when I said to watch out for Vanek? Fucking morons, especially you Rachunek..... why the fuck were you trying to run a guy behind the net? To make it worse you missed and they got the puck & went right to the net, goddamn as green as he is I wish Pock were playing. :brooding:

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:furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh: :explode: :furious::chair::doh:

You fucking goddman idiots had this game in the goddamn bag and you let a fucking scrub like Zubrus knock you off your game. Your stupid fucking mistakes are going to cost you against teams this good you fucking dipshits!@!!!! You all should be ashamed of yourselves, you had it and let it go..... you let it go. If you thought it was tough for the first two games you had better be prepared for it to be 100 times tougher since your FUCKING INSOLENT STUPIDITY put you here....... STUPIDITY!!!!!! Discipline & smarts wins every day over atheletic talent, you'd better learn that quick.

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