While the Sabres enter Friday four points behind Pittsburgh for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers (24-24-8, 56 points) are 11 points back, and trade rumors are starting to surface ahead of the Feb. 25 deadline.
One candidate to be moved is Mats Zuccarello, who of late is forming strong chemistry with Mika Zibanejad.
Zuccarello recorded two assists in Tuesday's 4-3 loss at Winnipeg and has 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in his last 12 games. He also has a multi-point game in six of his last 11 contests and has 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in his last 25 contests.
"We're playing so many games now, it's not hard to keep my focus on the ice," Zuccarello told reporters. "I'm keeping a clear mind about things. It's not like I'm waiting to be told that I'm traded. We'll all find out soon enough."
Zibanejad scored twice against Winnipeg and has 13 goals in his last 11 games. He also has 21 points in his last 13 contests and leads the team with 25 goals and 56 points.
"It's obviously nice to see the bounces go in," Zibanejad said. "But we didn't win, so it doesn't really matter."
Another candidate to be moved by the deadline is Kevin Hayes, whose 38 points are third on the team.
The Rangers and Sabres split a pair of 3-1 games earlier in this season. Buffalo goaltender Carter Hutton made 43 saves in Buffalo's home win on Oct. 6, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 shots in New York's home win on Nov. 4.
Overall, New York is 12-2 in the last 14 meetings with the Sabres. >> Read More
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