NHL second-round previews

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) BUFFALO SABRES VS. (6) NEW YORK RANGERS

Season series: Buffalo took the set 2-0-2, but the teams haven't played since Dec. 1.

Last playoff meeting: Marcel Pronovost (Sabres) and Jean-Guy Talbot (Rangers) were the coaches in 1978, a best of three won 2-1 by Buffalo.

The skinny: The first round took a little more out of the Sabres, but they were the first to admit they sleepwalked through part of it . . . Rangers RW Jaromir Jagr, fighting for the playoff scoring lead, has more regular season points against the Sabres than any NHLer -- 39 goals, 53 assists in 69 games with Pittsburgh, Washington and the Rangers . . . Disciplined Sabres will be hard for Ranger antogonist LW Sean Avery to goad . . . C Chris Drury still has the knack for big goals for Buffalo and RW Dainius Zubrus has made up for lost playoff time over the years with five points so far . . . Rangers coach Tom Renney doesn't believe they should be total underdogs: "I'm not suggesting that I don't want to give (Buffalo) credit, but we're where we are because we belong here, too. We'll let the series play itself out."

Hurting: Buffalo C Paul Gaustad (ankle) might return at some point in the series. C Tim Connolly (hamstring) is probable . . . Rangers are without D Karel Rachunek (quad muscle) for the first part of the series.

Possible playoff hero: LW Brendan Shanahan scored in each of the last three games of the Atlanta series and had 20 shots on goal . . . G Ryan Miller was the steadiest Sabre against the Isles and will give the Rangers much more of a challenge than the Thrashers goalies.


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