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Post-game Xtra...NY 3 up on Sabres, six on Canes

The latest at 8 PM Sunday... 

Sabres lose 4-3 in OT to Nashville. Eighth-place Buffalo has 79 points with a game in hand. Rangers have 82.  Canes six back of Rangers in 9th.

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The Rangers rallied without the services of All-Star defenseman Marc Staal, sidelined with what is believed a sore left knee, which was twisted Feb. 23 and kept him out of three games. Staal seemed to be walking without a limp after the game.

Coach John Tortorella said Staal sustained a "body" injury and that with the playoffs approaching, would not be more specific on injuries to prevent teams from targeting banged-up players. “We missed him,” he said. “Emmy (Steve Eminger) played hard….I don’t think our forwards helped us much. We lost our weak side backcheck in the second period, but the defense regrouped.” Paired with Staal’s partner Dan Girardi, Eminger played 24:19, had eight hits and three blocked shots.

Resting Staal for several days will perhaps allow him to play Tuesday against the Panthers at home. On the West Coast trip that ended last Saturday, Staal told Newsday that that the knee, which is taped, was not 100 percent.

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The line of Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen and Marian Gaborik was described by Tortorella as “a nightmare for the first three shifts…..they wanted (Jordan) Staal against that line and they destroyed them. So I split them up…that line was brutal, which is why they didn’t play in the third period.” Christensen, with an assist, played just 7:37. Prospal’s assist to extend his point streak to nine games and Gaborik scored on the 5-on-3. “He scores a big goal, but that line did not play well today.”

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Brandon Dubinsky, who recorded an empty-net goal and two assists, was 11-for-17 on faceoffs… Artem Anisimov scored his fifth goal in nine games and also had an assist. Anisimov scored the opening goal for the second consecutive game. It was his 40th point of the season, a career high for the 22 year old.
The Rangers were 3 for 3 on the penalty-kill, allowing just four shots, and were credited with 39 hits…Sean Avery was a healthy scratch for the third game in four....The Rangers have now scored five or more goals in each of their last three contests and four of their last six.

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