• One of the Sabres' strengths lies is in their terrific offensive depth and it is the nature of the sport to label teams' lines, which means Ales Kotalik, Tim Connolly and Adam Mair have the distinction of being known as the team's "fourth" line.
Not that they care much for that distinction.
"When you look at our lineup, you can't consider anybody a fourth line. We definitely don't feel like a fourth line," Kotalik said Thursday. "Look at the guys on this line, Tim Connolly, when healthy, is one of the best players in the league. He's one of the best skilled centerman; he's just unbelievable when you watch him.
"Adam Mair, if he got a regular chance to play big minutes, he would be a 15-20 goal scorer. He has some great energy and playmaking abilities. I just can't say enough of these guys. I'm pretty happy I've been put with them. Even if our time is a bit limited on the ice."
For his part, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff agreed with a notion first raised in the playoffs a season ago that the team doesn't have a one-through-four lineup, but rather four No. 2 lines.
"I pretty well look at it that way. We have lines that can compete in both ends. We have lines that are all very good at scoring," Ruff said.
• Rangers coach Tom Renney acknowledged that it's possible his team might have been subconsciously guilty of reading their own press clippings coming into this series after sweeping Atlanta in the first round and advancing in the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
"You know what, you can't help but maybe get a little bit full of yourself, especially when you haven't been acquainted with this kind of hockey for a long time," Renney said.
-- Scott Burnside