By John Vogl
NEW YORK -- Playing tonight is a matter of pride for Henrik Tallinder. The game means a lot more to the New York Rangers.
Tallinder says he's ready to return to the Buffalo blue line after a four-game injury absence.
"Itâs just trying to finish what you started," Tallinder said after the morning skate in Madison Square Garden. "Iâm just looking forward to playing again. You never like to be sitting out or being hurt. Iâm just happy that my body feels healthy again."
Sabres coach Ted Nolan said he'll dress John Scott for the warm-up in case Tallinder isn't ready. Matt Hackett will start in goal for Buffalo. Zenon Konopka is expected to be a healthy scratch.
The Rangers head into their penultimate game in second place in the Metropolitan Division. With the new playoff format, that means home ice in the first round against the division's third-place team. Philadelphia and Columbus are both two points back of the Rangers.
"I could say if you get home ice itâs real good, and if you donât itâs not that big of a deal," New York coach Alain Vigneault said with a grin. "Playing in front of your fans is always something special. Weâve got a possibility to get home ice, and weâre going to work real hard to get it.
"Right now we want to keep playing well so we feel good about our game. We want two points tonight."