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Five Things to Know as Sabres visit New York Rangers

NEW YORK – Phil Housley didn't get what he wanted Friday. The Sabres have another chance to fulfill their coach's wishes right away.

Here are Five Things to Know as Buffalo visits the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

1. It's getting ugly

The Sabres were making strides as the season wound down. Then this week happened.

Buffalo has lost three straight, scoring just one goal in the process. Housley pointed the finger at the team's leaders, which includes alternate captains Ryan O'Reilly, Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo.

"I think it's about time our leadership group stood up now," Housley said after Friday's 3-0 loss to Montreal. "I challenged them yesterday, and it definitely wasn't the response I was looking for. Lack of execution, lack of sticking with the game plan as far as what we're looking for on the five-on-three.

"Some guys like to put things in their own hands and think that's going to work. Well, it hasn't."

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2. Net results

The Sabres were blanked twice this week, including a 4-0 loss to Nashville on Monday. The only goal came during Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Arizona.

Buffalo is scoring just 2.32 goals per game, more than one goal fewer than NHL-leading Tampa Bay (3.58). O'Reilly fanned on an open net Friday.

"It’s almost embarrassing," he said. "I had a chance there and missed it. It's disappointing. It was right there. I had a couple chances to tap pucks in and didn't. Those were the sparks we needed."

The Rangers have at least three goals in the last seven games and in 10 of the last 11.

3. Hit the road

Buffalo went 1-4-1 on a six-game homestand, dropping its home record to an NHL-worst 11-23-5. The Sabres enter the game against the Rangers with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 road games.

The Rangers are 20-14-4 in MSG.

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4. Big challenge

The Rangers have won 12 of the last 15 games in the series, including the Winter Classic on New Year's Day. It's been close lately. Five of the last six have been decided by one goal, and two of the last three were decided in overtime.

The Rangers are looking for a series sweep of the Sabres for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

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5. This and that

Neither team had a morning skate. Housley will give lineup updates between 4:30 to 5 p.m. … The Sabres will complete their 15th of 16 sets of back-to-backs. Buffalo is 5-7-2 so far in the second game. ... Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad has a point in nine of his last 12 games against Buffalo (one goal, eight assists). … Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded four goals and 13 points in his last 14 road games. … Right wing Sam Reinhart has four goals and 10 points in his last 10 road games.

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