Sabres-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Having matched their worst-ever start, the Buffalo Sabres hope Matt Moulson can provide a spark.

If his Buffalo debut was any indication, he should be able to help - provided he isn't traded again.

Moulson and the Sabres will face a New York Rangers club looking for its first home victory Thursday night.

The Sabres (2-11-1) come off a 4-3 home defeat to Dallas on Monday as they were unable to knock off Lindy Ruff, their winningest coach, after firing him in February.

Moulson's debut provided a bright spot, with the forward scoring two goals after being acquired from the Islanders on Sunday in exchange for Thomas Vanek and a pair of draft picks. It's unclear how Moulson fits into Buffalo's plans past this season as his contract expires after 2013-14.

For now, however, he appeared to fit in nicely on the team's top line with Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis.

"I'm just going to take it day by day," said Moulson, who has six goals in his last five games. "If it's for however long, a long period of time, a short period of time or whatever they have planned, I'm going to play and compete, play my game and try to help this team get wins."

Buffalo's early game woes continued Monday as the club entered the second period down 3-1, though the Sabres scored twice in the second 20 minutes. They've been outscored 19-2 in the first period, compared to 21-20 in the second and third.

The Rangers (4-7-0) made their long-awaited home debut Monday - a result of ongoing renovations at Madison Square Garden - and lost 2-0 to Montreal. They sandwiched two road wins around that contest, the most recent a 3-2 victory over the Islanders on Tuesday.

"It feels good for everyone," said forward Benoit Pouliot, whose winning goal was his second goal in three games. "After last night's loss we came in here ready to play."

New York's two other scores came from Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh on power plays. The club had been 1 for 15 on power plays over their previous five games.

"We've worked a lot on our power play, talked a lot about it, and when you execute on something you've talked about and focused on specifically I think it's that much more rewarding," Kreider told the team's official website.

More opportunities could be available against the Sabres, who have allowed five goals on 24 power-play chances over the last seven contests.

Buffalo has scored one goal on 20 power-play chances away from home.

Both teams are among the lowest-scoring in the league, with New York totaling 18 goals and Buffalo 23.

Center Derek Stepan, who has seven points to trail Brad Richards (nine) for the team lead, has two goals and two assists in his last three meetings with the Sabres.

New York has won five of the last seven matchups.

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