Sabres rattle Rangers
Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 1:11 a.m.
NEW YORK - Daniel Briere and Chris Drury each scored a power-play goal, and Martin Biron made 33 saves to lift the Buffalo Sabres over the New York Rangers 3-1 on Friday night.
Ales Kotalik added an empty-net goal with 36.6 seconds remaining to help the Sabres win for the fourth time in five games and pull within five points of the New York Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Dale Purinton scored for the fading Rangers, who have lost six of seven. They also learned Friday that star center Eric Lindros will be sidelined indefinitely after sustaining the eighth concussion of his career Wednesday against Washington.
Mike Dunham returned from his concussion after missing two games and made 32 saves for New York.
Drury and Briere each added an assist.
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Gary Roberts scored less than three minutes apart late in the second period to put the Maple Leafs ahead 3-1. Matt Stajan finished off the Thrashers with a goal about 7¶ minutes into the third.
Robert Reichel also scored for Toronto.
Injury-plagued Atlanta was bolstered by the return of Marc Savard, who scored after missing seven games with a sprained knee.
Also, Dany Heatley played his second game for the Thrashers since recovering from a car wreck that killed teammate Dan Snyder.
Still, the Thrashers have only two wins in 16 games.
Lindros was checked Thursday by Dr. Karen Johnston, a neurological specialist in Montreal, and returned later that evening to his home in New York.
Lindros has not rejoined the team, and no timetable has been set for a return.
``Eric is out indefinitely,'' Rangers spokesman Jason Vogel said. ``He is resting and his condition will continue to be monitored.''
Lindros was injured Wednesday night in New York's 2-1 loss to Washington when he took a hard hit from Jason Doig in the second period.
On his next shift, Lindros took the faceoff and immediately dropped his gloves and stick and went after Doig. After a brief scuffle, Lindros pinned Doig to the ice. Both received fighting majors at 10:53.
Lindros didn't return for the third period.
In his third season with the Rangers, the 1995 NHL MVP has been playing his best hockey in years of late.
He has 10 goals and 22 assists in 39 games.
The All-Star center was traded to New York by Philadelphia after sitting out a season because of a bitter feud with Flyers general manager Bob Clarke and while recovering from his seventh concussion.
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