The Sabres won the regular-season series 4-0, but throw that out with the garbage. All four games were before Dec. 1 and Henrik Lundqvist played in just one of them. With that said, the edge still has to go to Lindy Ruff's crew. Not only does Buffalo boast an impressive depth on its backend, but Ryan Miller, in his second postseason, is proving to be one of the better young netminders. An aggressive forecheck will be the calling card for both teams, but the Sabres should be able to establish the early tone with their puck-controlling blueliners. The only way this series gets interesting is if the Blueshirts win Game 1 and Brendan Shanahan's line gets going. It helps that New York had the second-ranked PK in the first round.
Henrik Lundqvist Besides taking Game 1 and Shanny's line producing, the Rangers need Lundqvist to remain en fuego if they have serious thoughts of pulling off the upset. The 25-year-old netminder had the Thrashers baffled in the first round, going 4-0 with a stellar 1.50 GAA. In addition, Lundqvist hasn't allowed more than three goals in his last eight starts. But let's see what he does against Buffalo's high-powered machine.
Sabres: Brian Campbell He may have stumbled down the stretch with just one point in the final nine regular-season games, but Campbell found his offense in the first round: two goals, four points. A mainstay -- well, at least most of the time -- on the Sabres' top power-play unit, the streaky blueliner needs to do much of the same against the gritty Rangers.Rangers: Martin Straka The Sabres' defense will be keyed in on linemate Jaromir Jagr, but they better keep an eye on Straka. The veteran forward, who went goalless in the first round against the Thrashers, managed four goals and seven points in four games against Buffalo this season. Despite his regular-season success against the Sabres, Straka has to shoot the puck more -- five shots in first round.
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.