There’s one thing on everyone’s mind as the Buffalo Sabres prepare to face the Dallas Stars this evening: Can the Sabres extend their winning streak to a season-high four games?
Wait……. was that not the question you were expecting?
Okay, there are plenty of storylines heading into tonight’s Sabres game, including:
- The potential of a four-game winning streak
- Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart’s debut as members of the organization – though Halak isn’t expected to play and will be acting as backup for tonight’s game
- The recent trade of Ryan Miller and Steve Ott
- The resignation of Pat Lafontaine
- Contract talks with Ted Nolan
- Facing a Dallas Stars team coached by former Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff.
Undoubtedly, the past few days have been crazy for the Buffalo Sabres organization. While some things are still seemingly tense and it’s been a bit of hysteria lately, it’s time to get down to business and focus on one thing: tonight’s game.
Tonight’s game marks the second meeting of the season between the Stars and the Sabres; Dallas defeated Buffalo 4-3 on October 28 in their prior meeting. This season marks the first time since the 2002-03 season that Dallas and Buffalo are meetings twice in the regular season.
The Sabres are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games against the Stars, but 3-7-0 in their last ten games IN Dallas – with their last win there coming on January 15, 2009. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to turn things around.
On the ice, the Sabres have certainly turned things around. After losing the first four games of February, the Sabres are now on a three-game winning streak and look to extend that in a jam-packed March. The Sabres have 14 games in 26 days this month, including two sets of back-to-back games.
Buffalo is coming off Friday’s 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Despite the late shakeup of the roster, the Sabres managed to pull themselves together and grab a convincing win over the Sharks. Cody Hodgson, Brian Flynn, Matt Moulson and Tyler Myers scored for Buffalo.
Myers led the Sabres with a three-point night, including the empty-netter to seal a win with 21 seconds left in regulation.
Jhonas Enroth had 36 saves in the win, which was his second consecutive start & victory. It’s expected that he’ll be in goal again tonight, leaving newcomer Jaroslav Halak as the backup for the time being.
At this point, it’s uncertain if Halak will ever play as a member of the Sabres organization, as many believe he may be flipped prior to Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Christian Ehrhoff is on a four-game point streak heading into tonight’s game, with five points (2-3) in that stretch. Matt Moulson is on a three-game point streak, while Tyler Myers, Brian Flynn, Zemgus Girgensons, Matt D’Agostini and Cody Hodgson are all on two-game point streaks.
Moulson leads the Sabres in goals (17) and points (36), while Ehrhoff leads the team in assists (23).
For Dallas, center Tyler Seguin leads the Stars across the board in goals (25), assists (32) and points (57).
Captain Jamie Benn – former Kelowna Rockets teammate of Myers – is also having a solid season, with 23 goals, 31 assists and 54 points in 60 games played this season. Benn also recently won gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Kari Lehtonen will face the Sabres in net tonight. Lehtonen is 23-16-10 on the season with a 2.49 GAA and .916 save percentage.
One aspect where the Dallas Stars are struggling is on the power play – just 1-for-26 lately. Regardless, the Sabres should try to limit their penalties and keep the upper hand here; don’t take it easy in the hopes that the Stars’ rut in this aspect will continue.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the excitement that’s been surrounding the Sabres organization over the past few days – and even easier, perhaps, to get caught up in the questions that remain.
Perhaps the biggest question with Wednesday’s trade deadline looming: who will be playing their last game as a member of the Buffalo Sabres tonight?
For now, players and fans alike need to focus on what’s at hand: tonight’s game against Dallas. Let’s make it a four-game winning streak.