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Lundqvist, Rangers battle struggling Sabres

(SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist's recent contract extension further proved that it's good to be the king.

Lundqvist is slated to start Thursday night for New York one day after inking his new deal as the Rangers visit the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

Set to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, the 31-year-old Lundqvist confirmed his future is in New York, signing a seven-year deal worth a reported $59.5 million. The contract is likely to keep the 2012 Vezina Trophy winner with the Rangers for the rest of his career.

"Two things were real clear to me," Lundqvist said on Wednesday of his thoughts for the future. "No. 1 was I really want to win the (Stanley) Cup here in New York. It's my biggest goal and my biggest dream and it pushes me right now to work even harder. Secondly I want to be a Ranger for life. That was a big thing that just became really clear to me because of how they've treated me.

"I can't wait to see the challenge here and try to bring the Cup here to New York. I think we have a really great team."

Lundqvist is having a bit of a down season by his standards, going 8-11-0 with a 2.51 goals against average and .917 save percentage in 20 games. However, one of his two shutouts this season came on Oct. 31 at home versus the Sabres as he halted 29 shots.

In 25 career meetings with Buffalo, Lundqvist is 13-10-2 with a 2.33 GAA.

The Swede is slated to return to the net for the first time in three games after rookie backup Cam Talbot started the previous two. Talbot made 35 saves in a 5-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday before yielding four goals on 29 shots faced in a 5-2 setback to visiting Winnipeg on Monday.

The 26-year-old had allowed two or fewer goals in each of his first seven NHL starts, winning the last six.

Ryan Callahan and Mats Zuccarello supplied the goals for New York, which split a two-game homestand and is 14-14-0 on the season.

"We're definitely not getting the traction that I think we want, that I know we want," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. "The only way we are going to get traction and get better is by playing more consistent hockey.

"Is this team a .500 hockey club? We're certainly playing like one right now. If we want to get off of the .500 mark we are going to have to start playing better."

New York fell to 5-6-0 at home this season and begins a nine-game homestand on Saturday following this road tilt.

The Sabres come in having lost six of their last seven games, following up an overtime win against Toronto with Saturday's 1-0 overtime setback to the New Jersey Devils.

Jhonas Enroth stopped the first 23 shots he faced, but got beat on a wrister by the Devils' Steve Bernier with 40.2 seconds remaining in the extra frame.

The Sabres were outshot 24-15 in the game, logging seven of their shots in the second period.

"It wasn't the most exciting hockey game, but when you come on the road, that's what you want to do and overall, I like the way we competed from the second period on," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.

Nolan is likely to have center Cody McCormick available for the first time since Nov. 21 as he has been out with an upper-body injury. However, Matt D'Agostini has not practiced due to illness and is questionable, while defenseman Alexander Sulzer could sit out tonight due to an undisclosed injury that has kept him out of practice this week.

Ryan Miller is the likely starter for the Sabres tonight and he gave up both goals on 46 shots faced in the 2-0 loss on Oct. 31. He fell to 13-6-5 lifetime versus the Rangers with a 2.32 GAA.

The Sabres have lost six of their last eight overall versus the Rangers, including three of the past four at home.

12/05 10:48:45 ET

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Schedule

Saturday, April 19Full Scoreboard
Chicago3Final(OT) | Box
St. Louis «4Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. St. Louis leads series, 2-0.
Columbus «4Final(OT2) | Box
Pittsburgh3Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Minnesota2Final | Box
Colorado «4Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Colorado leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
Final
CLE 0
TOR 5
Final
DET 5
ANA 2
Final
BOS 4
BAL 2
Final
KAN 5
MIN 4
Final
CHC 8
CIN 4
Final
OAK 4
HOU 3
Final
PIT 7
MIL 8
Final
NYM 5
ATL 7
Final
TAM 16
NYY 1
Final
MIA 7
SEA 0
Final
TEX 6
CWS 3
Final
LOS 8
ARI 6
Final
COL 3
PHI 1
Final
SDP 3
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
ATL
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
SEA
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
NYY
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
 
Final
TOR 87
BRK 94
Final
LAC 105
GSW 109
Final
IND 93
ATL 101
Final
OKC 100
MEM 86
1:00pm Today
SAN
DAL
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
STL 4
CHI 3
Final
PIT 3
CLB 4
Final
COL 4
MIN 2
12:00pm Today
NYR
PHI
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR