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Sabres looking for points in five straight when they host Rangers; Ennis, Franson still out

There's chemistry brewing among Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

There's chemistry brewing among Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

If the Sabres want to extend one streak, they're going to have end another.

Buffalo will host the New York Rangers on Tuesday as loser of eight straight against the Blueshirts. The Sabres haven't gone winless in nine games against New York since the first 12 meetings of the series. Buffalo went 0-10 with two ties from 1970 to 1972.

The Sabres will enter the game feeling good, however. They rallied to beat Toronto, 4-3, in a shootout Monday to move to 2-0-2 in the last four games. They are hoping to get a point for the fifth consecutive game, something they haven't done since March 2012.

A good start would help. Buffalo fell behind, 2-0 and 3-1, to the Maple Leafs before coming back.

"We need to find a way to play with the lead," captain Brian Gionta said Tuesday morning in First Niagara Center. "We're a much better team when we're doing that. It's tough to chase teams in this league, especially good teams like the Rangers. We need to be careful early on."

Robin Lehner (5-7-4, .931 save percentage) will start in goal for Buffalo. The top line will again be Jack Eichel in the middle of left wing Evander Kane and right wing Sam Reinhart, who keyed the Sabres' comeback in Toronto.

"We’re starting to build some chemistry and find our roles on the line," Kane said. "Things are clicking a little bit, and we all enjoy playing together."

Reinhart, who has spent most of the season alongside injured center Ryan O'Reilly, has had to adjust with Eichel and Kane.

"I feel when I play with faster players it forces me to play faster and helps my game out," Reinhart said. "Obviously, those guys play with a lot of speed and put themselves in good position. That helps me as well."

Sabres forward Tyler Ennis (concussion) and defenseman Cody Franson (head, neck) remain out.

"It's been small small steps recently for both," coach Dan Bylsma said, "but steps in the right direction. Hopefully, it means they can start moving toward the possibility of getting back on the ice with the team. But there's definitive time right now for that to be the case."

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