Eastern Conference semifinals feature Senators-Devils and Sabres-Rangers

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(1) Buffalo vs. (6) N.Y. Rangers

When: TBA

Where: Buffalo, N.Y.

Last playoff meeting: 1978, Sabres won preliminary round 2-1.

First round: Buffalo 4-1 over N.Y. Islanders; Rangers 4-0 over Atlanta.

Season series: Buffalo won all four - 7-4 at home Oct. 14, 4-3 in overtime in New York on Nov. 5, 3-2 in overtime in New York on Nov. 26 and 4-3 in shootout at home on Dec. 1.

Top playoff scorers: Buffalo - Chris Drury 5 points (4 goals-1 assist), Daniel Briere 5 (1-4), Dainius Zubrus 5 (0-5), Thomas Vanek 4 (2-2); Rangers - Michael Nylander 8 (4-4), Jaromir Jagr 7 (2-5), Fedor Tyutin 5 (0-5), Sean Avery 5 (1-4).

Playoff goaltending: Buffalo, Miller, 4-1, 2.21 goals-against average, .918 save percentage; Rangers, Lundqvist, 4-0, 1.50, .939.

Power play: Buffalo 4-for-24; Rangers 5-for-24.

Injury: Rangers D Karel Rachunek, out since March 13 with a knee injury, should be available for opener.

Sabres quote: "I definitely don't think we're playing our best hockey. I think everybody will agree on that. But, at the same time, what we've done is find ways to win." - Briere.

Rangers quote: "I feel we're kind of rewriting the personality of the New York Rangers. I think one of the reasons the fans appreciate this team is that we reflect the personality of the city. We have a team made up of players from diverse cultures, of hard workers, of little guys who play bigger than they are. We want to be a reflection of New York, and we are." - Brendan Shanahan.

(2) New Jersey vs. (4) Ottawa

When: TBA

Where: East Rutherford, N.J.

Last playoff meeting: 2003, Devils won conference final 4-3.

First round: New Jersey 4-2 over Tampa Bay; Ottawa 4-1 over Pittsburgh.

Season series: Ottawa won 8-1 at home Oct. 21 but New Jersey won last three - 3-2 at home Nov. 17, 3-2 in Ottawa on Jan. 6 and 2-1 in home shootout April 3.

Top playoff scorers: New Jersey - Scott Gomez 9 (2-7), Brian Rafalski 7 (2-5), Patrick Elias 7 (1-6), Zach Parise 6 (6-0); Ottawa - Daniel Alfredsson 6 (3-3), Chris Kelly 4 (3-1), Jason Spezza 4 (2-2), Dany Heatley 4 (2-2).

Playoff goaltending: New Jersey, Brodeur, 4-2, 2.33, .917; Ottawa, Emery, 4-1, 2.01, .909.

Power plays: New Jersey 7-for-28; Ottawa 6-for-24.

Injuries: New Jersey D Colin White sat out the last four games with a stiff back . . . Ottawa F Patrick Eaves remains out with concussion . . . Ottawa D Anton Volchenkov, who hurt his left elbow Friday, says he'll be ready to go.

Devils quote: "It just keeps getting tougher. Ottawa's got a great team. We've got some history with those guys in the playoffs so it should be fun." - Scott Gomez.

Senators quote: "What I like about our club is that we're more business-like than in the past. We have new players who came in and found roles on the team and they came to trust each other and love each other. They are now a solid, well-knit club." - GM John Muckler.



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