The New York Rangers capped a very busy stretch with one of their most complete efforts of the season their last time out. They'll look to continue their surge by extending their recent success against the struggling Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
The Rangers (13-9-2) rebounded from having a four-game winning streak snapped by defeating Washington 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. Four players scored and backup Martin Biron made 28 saves for New York, which closed a stretch of three games in four days that was capped by the early start time against the Capitals.
New York went 4-1-0 while playing five games in eight days, and is 5-1-0 since a four-game skid.
"I think we're beginning to sort ourselves out as far as how we have to play and doing it a little bit more consistently," said coach John Tortorella, whose team opened a season-high four-game road trip.
The Rangers are in the midst of their best stretch of the season on the power play after struggling for most of 2013. New York, still toward the bottom of the NHL at 15.9 percent, has gone 6 for 19 in the past six contests.
The Rangers have also been better defensively, giving up 10 goals in the 5-1-0 stretch after allowing 13 during the four-game losing streak.
"We just continue to try to put together 60-minute efforts and try and be effective in our D-zone," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.
One of the victories during this surge came against Buffalo, 3-2 in a shootout at home March 3 that was New York's fourth win in five meetings. The Rangers have taken the past two road matchups with the Sabres.
That loss opened an 0-2-2 trip for Buffalo (9-14-3), with each defeat coming by one goal. The Sabres closed the road stretch by losing 3-2 to Philadelphia on Sunday, getting outshot 12-4 in the opening 20 minutes and falling behind 2-0 before Brian Flynn cut the deficit to one before the period ended.
"We've got to be ready to go," coach Ron Rolston said. "We didn't have enough urgency or desperation off the start. We kind of got a little back as the game went on."
Buffalo has not led in the first period of the last five games and has been outshot in that period in each by a total of 55-26.
"We knew they were going to come out hard ... that's one thing we stressed before the game, and then we came and we just didn't match it," said Flynn, who recorded his second career goal by scoring for the second straight game.
" ... You have to come and compete every night for 60 minutes to win hockey games, and we were 20 minutes short there in the first period."
Buffalo will be without top goaltender Ryan Miller, who has a sinus infection, meaning backup Jhonas Enroth will start. Enroth is 0-2-0 with a 3.94 goals-against average in four games this season, and 0-9-3 in his past 16 appearances.
New York got a goal Sunday from center Brad Richards, who played in his second straight game after missing two following a hit from behind by the Sabres' Patrick Kaleta in the last meeting. Kaleta won't play in the rematch as he'll serve the fourth game of a five-game suspension for the hit.
Rangers forward Rick Nash had two assists against Washington and has seven goals and nine assists during a career-best 10-game point streak. He had a goal and an assist March 3.
Buffalo forward Ville Leino could play Tuesday after missing the first 26 games with a hip injury.