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Winning streaks not new to Drury

Chris Drury knows all about big winning streaks to start a season. He was, of course, the Buffalo Sabres' co-captain when they tied the NHL record by going 10-0 in 2006. Drury's New York Rangers are halfway to that mark and can set a franchise record by improving to 6-0 with a win over the Sabres tonight in Madison Square Garden.

"Pretty funny to be on another streak like that, but we're just worried about six right now and nothing else," Drury told The News after Monday's 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. "We know Buffalo had a big win [Monday] against the Islanders. They've got tons of skill guys. Goaltending. Great coaching. We'll have our hands full."

Drury, who had 25 goals and 33 assists last year in his first season in New York, has just one assist in five games thus far. His biggest impact this season came when he was named captain Oct. 3, joining Brian Leetch as the only American-born captain in franchise annals.

"The whole thing has been great for me, especially getting off to this start," Drury said. "I'm very honored because of the long tradition of amazing captains here. It just adds something to the whole experience, makes it a big-time thrill for me."

The Rangers got their season going with two wins over Tampa Bay in Prague and haven't cooled off a bit since coming back to this side of the Atlantic. They've outscored their opponents, 16-8, and killed off all 21 power plays against them.

"We've been working hard and getting a lot of results," Drury said. "Offensively, defensively. Goaltending's been great and everything has been clicking. It's nice to get off to a start and show people what we have here."

Newcomer Aaron Voros, a disturber acquired from New Jersey to replace Sean Avery, and center Brandon Dubinsky lead the Rangers with seven points (three goals, four assists apiece). Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has won four of the games, posting a 1.25 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

Dubinsky said Drury has been a huge key in the dressing room during the overseas trip and the three subsequent wins.

"[Drury] does all the little things right whether it's on the ice or off the ice," said Dubinsky. "He gets on guys, says the right things when he needs to. He's a special person, a special leader for us.

"He's brought the group together with his confidence in every player. He's not a big yeller but he leads by example. It makes you want to work that much harder when you see a guy like that battling every night and doing it with such pride. He's absolutely one of the best captains I've ever had."

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Drury, on the addition of former Sabres defenseman Dmitri Kalinin: "He's doing great. Guys have been pleasantly surprised at how good he is and what he can do. If you don't see a guy like I saw him every day in Buffalo, you don't know how much talent he has. I knew."

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Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is one win shy of 400 for his career and will become the 23rd coach in NHL history to achieve the milestone with his next victory. Next on the all-time list for Ruff to catch is former Sabres coach and GM Punch Imlach at 402. . . . Buffalo captain Craig Rivet is on thin ice after his double game misconduct earned for his role in Monday's second-period brawl against the New York Islanders. Under NHL rules, Rivet will automatically incur a one-game suspension for a third game misconduct. For any subsequent gamers past three, the suspension is increased by a game. . . . There are fewer than 1,000 tickets left for Friday's Vancouver game in HSBC Arena.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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