- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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At a glance: Buckling under the pressure of the top spot in the East, the Rangers have struggled of late. The 38-15-6 Blueshirts enter Friday’s contest having dropped three of their last four games, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders Friday. They’ll look to turn things around against the 11th place Sabres, who have rattled off three straight wins to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Back at it: The Rangers wrap up their 10th of 14 back-to-backs this season against Buffalo tonight and have the numbers on their side. New York is 7-1-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season, 5-0-0 at home.
Goaltending duel: In the two team’s last meeting February 1, Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan Miller went head-to-head in a stellar goaltending battle. Lundqvist ultimately edged Miller 1-0 in the shootout, although the two will likely have a rematch Saturday with Miller coming off an impressive 35-save performance over Boston Friday night.
Ante up: With the NHL abuzz about a potential trade that would bring Rick Nash to New York, Nash’s agent Joe Resnick spoke publicly for the first time since news spread about his client’s availability. Resnick told TSN’s Bob McKenzie that Nash’s camp is “hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets.” Resnick also said Nash's list of teams to whom he'd accept a trade -- he'd have to waive his no-trade clause to accept any deal shipping him out of Columbus -- will not change by the draft this June, quelling speculation that more teams could have a chance to compete for the coveted winger over the summer.
Wolski traded: Enigmatic forward Wojtek Wolski was traded to Florida Saturday in exchange for a minor-league prospect and a third-round draft pick in 2013. The deal allows the Rangers to clear Wolski’s $3.8 million cap hit in advance of Monday’s trade deadline. The 25-year-old winger, hampered by injuries, has been limited to nine games this season and has played in only three since returning from sports hernia surgery last month. Before the game, coach John Tortorella said the trade was beneficial to both sides and would provide Wolski a good opportunity to “get his career on track.”
66dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald