'D' Dominates In Rangers' Tie

The New York Rangers are still coming up empty against Dominik Hasek. But at least they came close in their latest meeting.
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For the fourth time in a row, the Rangers were shut out by the Buffalo goaltender Tuesday night. However, they came away with a 0-0 tie thanks to the superb play of their own goalie, Mike Richter.

Hasek was lucky this time as three Ranger shots hit the goal posts. And New York had numerous other chances, but shot wide.

"We had opportunities but didn't hit the net enough or take as many shots as we should," said Rangers forward John MacLean.

The Rangers only got off 16 shots at Hasek, who posted his 35th career shutout in extending his shutout string to 263 minutes and 46 seconds against the Rangers. Hasek has stopped 119 shots in the streak.

"You have to be lucky," Hasek said. "Those shots hit the goal posts and my defense played great."

Hasek said he was determined to play a strong game after Saturday night's 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders.

"When you lose a game and give up five goals, you think about the next game," Hasek said. "You try to overcome such a bad game -- maybe I was sharper because of that."

Adam Graves hit the post in the first period from the left circle and again in the third from the same spot for the Rangers. Brian Leetch also hit the post in the third period with the Rangers on a power play.

The Rangers squandered many good chances against Hasek, who has held them without a goal since Wayne Gretzky scored at 6:14 of the third period in a 3-3 tie at Buffalo on Nov. 28, 1997.

Richter, meanwhile, made several spectacular stops in gaining his 19th career shutout an helping the Rangers extend their unbeaten streak to five (2-0-3) after starting the season 0-4-0.

"It would have been no points if we did not have a shutout," said Richter, whose last shutout was March 24, 1997 against Pittsburgh. "It's better than nothing. They obviously have a very good goaltender and they certainly work hard."

The Sabres extended their unbeaten streak against the Rangers to seven games (4-0-3).

With 8:30 left in the first period, Richter stopped Geoff Sanderson's hard shot from the slot. In the second, Richter turned back Vaclav Varada and Curtis Brown in close on one sequence about six minutes into the period, then stopped Darryl Shannon two minutes later from the slot.

With the Sabres on a power play midway through the period, Richter stopped successive shots by Matthew Barnaby and Michal Grosek from just outside the crease.

Hasek, meanwhile, only faced 10 shots in the first two periods. Hasek's best save came on Brent Fedyk's shorthanded attempt, a point-blank shot with just under 12 minutes left in the period.

In overtime, Richter was tested again on a quick shot by Shannon from the right point but the Rangers goalie stayed with it even though he seemed partially screened. Richter was named the game's first star.

"It would have been 3-2 if not for the goalies," said Barnaby. "These two guys are good goalies -- they're expected to play that way."

Rangers right wing Alexei Kovalev sprained a shoulder in the first period and will be out two to three weeks, coach John Muckler said.

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